Monday, September 20, 2010

dazed and confused

Ever wonder if, just maybe, you were the star attraction on Punked?

Some everyday unsatisfying transaction happens, and you expect someone to jump out of the bushes and yell "gotcha". The world can't really be like this, in your heart of hearts you just know, we couldn't have screwed things up this badly could we?

This weekend provided three wake up calls. Each unspectacular in its own way, but collectively they feel an omen for darker times ahead.

Friday Night Date Night: He of the other couple picked the place. A bar with pretense of being a restaurant. My mood wasn't enhanced by the neighborhood fair taking place outside.

We ordered. After an ugly hour, saved by my $5 pitcher of margaritas, apps arrived. Our meager protests overshadowed by hunger.

Too quickly, our plates cleared and foolishly we asked if dinner might be served soon. Waitress responded with they'll begin your food after my 10 top is served. When might that be? No telling. We left.

We walked a couple of blocks, were seated at a nice little place and shared with the waiter our tale of woe. His buddy was the cook at bar #1 so he rang him up, to see what was going down. "Oh,the boss was crabby so we all quit".

Had a great dinner, eventually.

II. Letter from the cable company: I despise our cable company. Everyone is allowed to hate at least one utility. Mine is the cable company. Choose the one that works for you.

We received a letter Saturday, warning us that unless they came to our home immediately and replaced our TIVO cards they couldn't answer for the consequences. Call now for an appointment.

We called,the customer hatred clerk in Pakistan knew nothing of this letter and cared less. Mrs T read him the letter. "The fixer will arrive Sunday between 10 and noon", was the response.

Honest to god, a tech arrived on time, although he was repair and our situation required installation and even if he knew or cared about the letter, he didn't have the part, didn't think the company had the part, but someone would show up sometime Wednesday.

He was still drinking our coffee when driving a machine called to ask how well the cable company solved our problem. Why yell at a machine no one listens to?

III. School: Collectively, let us give thanks. Let us give thanks that Mrs. T does not have school age children in our school district. Let us give thanks that you do not either.

In their collective wisdom, our school masters believe we have too many Friday morning spellers, so spelling tests have been eliminated in all grades.

Take a breath and let that sink in. Repeat.

Isn't it bad enough that cursive writing is as unfathomable as hieroglyphics to graduating high school seniors? Now Facebook and IM spelling become a de facto standard. Blame spell check all you want, but you can't use a dictionary, even an online one, if you can't spell.

In the words of those to whom we entrust our children, by grade level certain "accountable words" that students would be expected to spell correctly in all their authentic writing have been created. Teachers will continue to teach weekly lessons on word principles and patterns to HELP STUDENTS UNDERSTAND HOW CONVENTIONAL SPELLING WORKS. As if.

"Teachers will track each student's spelling weaknesses and address those mistakes individually. We're really trying to work on self-regulation." Socrates died for less.

Thank god I won't live long enough to see how this pans out.

And Finally:

#2 son wrote last Wednesday he'd left Colorado and was heading to Wyoming to work on the dead bark beetle infested forests. Today I received this.
"New fire, we are on the go and here is where you can find out some information about it."

I trust your weekend fared better than ours.



Rebecca Woodhead said...

Oh Toad! I'm sorry you had such a rough weekend. I hope the week improves for you. :)

Silk Regimental said...

No spelling tests!!! They'll drop reading next. Even if you don't have school-age children, that begs a letter to the school board.

James said...

Does this mean misspelled tattoos are possible in the future? So glad #2 son is well and I wish him good luck in Wyoming.

Suburban Princess said...

Will keep son2 in our thoughts so he will be safe and sound!

Little Prince sends a hug cuz he thinks you could use it!

Aaaaaand...reason #477 we will be homeschooling.

Perhaps this is life's way of making Monday look pretty good!

house things said...

Eliminating spelling tests is shocking. Seriously? Do you suppose it's a joke?

Pigtown-Design said...

nothing worse than a hipster restaurant.

wishing no. 2 son the best and safe travels.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Eliminating spelling is not a new concept. I went to what some would call the best private school in Tulsa for grade school. At the time they were doing all this progressive stuff - no grade levels, really, kids sort of lumped together in pods working independently. I remember a lot of worksheets, frankly. And, no spelling. At all. When I changed schools my inability to spell nearly anything was great amusement to my new best friend. I spelling test or two would have served me well.

Anonymous said...

I have had issues in the past with some of my younger new hires who think it's appropriate to use text shorthand in business communication. I assure them it's not. They come across as stupid and uneducated. Sadly, I guess they are. KT

David said...

Better week to you Sir, and good thoughts for #2.

nanc said...

In addition to all the obvious reasons to continue weekly spelling tests, I found that with my children it was an opportunity to teach study skills. One of my children learned better writing the words over and over, another making flash cards and flipping them over. They still use those same methods to study.

Patsy said...

How do they assess spelling weaknesses without testing?

James, sadly, I've seen misspelled tattoos.

I'll keep good thoughts for your son.

Toad said...

All of my elementary school education was taught by Catholic nuns who I am certain would rather have taught 2 classes each per day of spelling and phonics than have lunch. Many of the good sisters must be spinning in their graves.

Also, thanks to all for their good wishes for #2 son. Secretly, he enjoys the attention.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Eliminoting spulling tessts? Why am that a bad ting?
Jesus, what are they thinking at that School board?

Dovecote Decor said...

Poor Toad and Mrs. I too was taught be nuns until I was 18!! Holy Child in Old Westbury. Spelling is also about vocabulary. We had to define the words and use them in a sentence. Eventually we had to knit them into paragraphs. In 6th grade, we spent an entire year diagraming sentences. It has helped me enormously in my writing. Time Warner cable!! Do not get me started. Come on over and bring some friends. We just posted a gorgeous McAlpine house. My friends are complaining about my vocabulary being too haute! What do you think?

Toad said...

Dovecote, as a high school junior, I won a bet with a teacher who thought I couldn't diagram a particular sentence.

Another throw back to another era is outlining. I still believe that if you can't outline your work, you can't write it.

Not that I do, obviously

Flo said...

I just returned from an episode at Lowe's where I put in a special order for some marble pencil trim, a very nice young man took the order, he couldn't get it to go through, over and over, so he finally called his manager who pointed out that pencil is not spelled pensil.

Your son is keeping us down on our knees, and now we have to add the children of Mayberry to the prayer list. Best,

JDB (Chin Up, Pretty Smile, Give 'Em Hell) said...

I have a post in the wings regarding just such b.s.

Do stop by tomorrow for its daybeww. Sorry, deboo. No, ;-)

LPC said...

Yikes. Sending good wishes for your boy.

preppyplayer said...

Thank G-d for folks like your son- willing to do the dirty work!

NCJack said...

So they're not going to teach spelling, but ARE going to teach "principles and patterns" to understand how spelling works? So the kids are going to be qualified to teach themselves? Is the administration aware that they can now put wheels under most of the teachers? And themselves?

NCJack said...

BTW, did the phrase "self esteem" pop up in the literature about no more spelling tests? I strongly suspect this concept is lurking about somewhere.

Toad said...

A billion Chinese have English drilled into them 7 days a week, and we've given up. Bodes well doesn't it?