I was very happy to retire from teaching high school English last June. Given that I loved teaching, naturally this is ironic. However, increasing numbers of students were not interested in reading and writing, let alone learning grammar. They see no need for it. Have reading and writing become past history?
It seems we have become a society in which we continually lower standards. People scream about grade inflation, yet scream louder if Buffy or Chip bring home grades that are not A level. I distinctly recall having a discussion with a student in which the student told me her paper deserved an A. I explained that while her effort was to be lauded, the quality of the work in accordance with the assignment merited a B+. (Students don’t seem to read the laborious comments provided.) And if truth be told, the + was due to the effort.
But I’m not here to gripe about the disconnect of today’s students, even though they are losing all skills for effective interpersonal communication. I grow frustrated at the lack of correctness in the printed word in general. I’m so tired of reading news stories online (and in print) that are full of grammatical errors, misspellings and lack of organization. I don’t know what is being taught in journalism schools these days or if our media is just big produced by scads of “communications” majors. Certainly, the newer crop of “English” majors seem neither adept with grammar nor literature. But they can text, tweet and make videos.
If this is what our society is to become, I’m very sad. I’ve never claimed to be an award-winning grammarian but I’m able to hold my own. Nor am I an award-winning writer (not yet anyway), but I am adept at the construction of a complete sentence, able to construct complex sentences correctly, able to fashion transitions and to organize my thoughts.
Does that mean I eschew all modern forms of communication? No, I tweet and text. Granted my texting contains more complete sentences than the average and I often capitalize, but I’m happy that I know how to do it correctly in the first place.
I read a news story this morning that contained two glaring writing errors. It seems no one appears to care that this is the way of things. In my opinion, it just doesn’t bode well for the future. But, again, that is my opinion.