The Day Job

Grammar police
Grammar police (Photo credit: the_munificent_sasquatch)

School has been in session for a week and a half now and I must admit I am somewhat overwhelmed at times.  I have decided to start out the year teaching 11th graders a hard and fast course in grammar.

The first week was nearly a wash in that we had two days of orientation, several assemblies, and of course the inevitable shuffling as students changed schedules.  The administration at my school is awesome in that they want to get most of the housekeeping activities out of the way at the start so that we can get right to work teaching students, and for that I am appreciative.  I know that they have a “to-do” list just like me, and that’s just part of the job.

I have been reviewing basic grammar this week and I’m discovering that students at the higher levels are having trouble with types of phrases (i.e. gerunds, verbals, participial) and are in desperate need for understanding of more complex sentence structures.  I have my work cut out for me, but with gentle encouragement and some hard core memorization skills via Quizlet I’m sure I can help them feel more confident as grammarians.

And this brings me to my current WIP which has been (I dare say) languishing.  I am just able to get ahead of all the paperwork enough tonight to pound out a few hundred words and that will be enough, I suppose.  It will have to be.  I am a teacher and that’s what pays the bills.  I must always remember this.

I gave away a copy of This Broken Earth to a student today because when he found out that I wrote a book he just had to read it.  It’s not for brownie points and he understands this, it’s just that he wants to read it.  I never allow my students to buy my books and if they do I chastise them.  I think they should get one for free.  I take great pleasure in waiting until a certain favorite character meets their demise and the student stomps into my class the day after they read the passage, growling at me about my “hasty decision.”

I found out today that I will be receiving a boat load of anthologies of literature.  These books will not have lesson plans conveniently planned for me, sets of questions at the end of texts or handy writing prompts.  They will simply be texts and texts alone.  I cannot wait to assign my students to write questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and multiple choice questions to stump their table mates.  I will then use these questions to construct unit tests.

Tomorrow is yet another Prezi about yet another set of grammar rules followed by yet another set of sentences to correct and label and dissect.  Perhaps in six weeks I will have them ready for their first real essay and perhaps in less than two years when they graduate and many of them go to college their professors will be glad I made sure they knew the ins and outs of English grammar.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

4 thoughts on “The Day Job

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