Thursday, September 02, 2004

Teachers' Day

I have been duly informed by Tym that what I have taught my kids about apostrophes are wrong. I have been duped all this time by various language teachers along the way. So, in an effort to try to regain the equilibrium in my syntactic/punctuation world, I actually pulled out Dan's Cobuild's Grammar for Beginners book and looked up possession only to learn that Mrs Teo of Primary 2 English, Ms Chan of Sec 1 English, Mrs Roberts of Sec 3 and 4 English and Mrs Foster of JC GP had all got it wrong! That even if your name ended with 's' like James, to denote that the stupid book belonged to you, you had to apostrophe-s his name. So now, because I am humble enough to admit that I was wrong, I will go into class Monday morning and re-explain apostrophes that denote possession and leave them even more confused when I add on that ONLY Biblical names like Jesus and Moses and whomever else in the Bible has a name ending with 's' will have the apostrophe minus the 's' to denote his disciples or his staff or tablet.


Adding on...2 days later...after the mangoes were consumed...
The mangoes had worms in it and when I announced it to the class that gave it to me, they told me it was time to switch to Banana Republic and I could expect a bunch of bananas next year. I told them it was one more reason why I shouldn't follow them up! But they win on humour.

In class a few days back, I had to explain how to use apostrophes especially with plural nouns. I had had students who had basically adulterated the name Malthus (some guy who had lots to say about population growth a really long time ago). So, when they were writing about his theory, they wrote
Malthus's theory
Malthu's theory and bless the hearts of those who actually managed to get it right and wrote Malthus' theory.

Because my class had grammar the standard of primary school, I had to teach them apostrophes with Teachers' Day, Children's Day and the difference between the two. And it was timely too since it was Teachers' Day yesterday.

The funniest gift I got, 2 mangoes, in a MANGO plastic bag with a note that said, they knew I liked Mango clothes but since they were poor students, they couldn't buy me something from there and here were two mangoes! The irony was that, they were the really big expensive mangoes which would have cost more than a $13 t-shirt at MANGO. But it was sweet and I laughed very very hard when they presented it to me in all earnestness.

The worst gift I got, the absence of 3/4 of my class who probably felt more allegiance to their secondary schools where they spent four years of their lives. The 5 that did show up were then punished by an off key rendition of "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'm going to eat some worms". I can't say that I'm not disappointed that they didn't care enough to show up, especially when former students, even one who has gone back to Thailand sent greetings. It's not so much that I want gifts, but it belies this attitude of we owe them the world and they don't owe us anything and the self-centredness of that attitude is very disturbing.

And I'm back today, with a very sore ankle that I should prop up. But since it's my last teaching day of the term and I really don't want to drag their Malthus comprehensions on any further, I dragged the foot to school. It didn't feel so bad on Tuesday when I did miss the step and crumbled hard on my ankle. Yesterday, it started feeling sore and today I can't rotate it at all. Bugger. And it wasn't even a dance accident.

"Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'm going to eat some worms"...

Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:45

2 thoughts...

2 thoughts...

At 11:54 am Blogger Tym said...

Actually, it's Malthus's theory, because Malthus isn't the plural of Malthu, it's the guy's name. Like it would be Jim Jones's car, whereas it's the Joneses' house.

For fun, read Tomato Nation's rant on English usage.

At 11:32 am Blogger S said...

Ah ha ha ha... sorry. Came over here from Mr Brown's - thought your post was very funny, especially since you were singing about eating some worms, then got some worms in the mangoes... :)


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