Thursday, 8 May 2008

Pedant's Revolt

I love being a Supply Teacher - doing the job I love, but not full-clock time, leaves me free to do all the other things I love [preaching, Sunday School, Ladies Meetings, Holiday Clubs etc - and yes I really do love those activities even if they are not financially rewarding] I am fortunate to have really good local schools who call on me regularly and I get all the work I want. I have the greatest respect for my full-time colleagues, who work very long hours, before, during and after school and I think they do a great job. I can understand why schools 'buy in' to preplanned schemes of work. But... exactly who plans these things? And does nobody proof-read or edit them before publication?

The other week, the teacher I was covering gave me the Literacy plan for the day. It was all about prefixes.

The printed plan said "''Mini' implies small - therefore, mention words like minimum, miniskirt, miniature, miniscule." I can't teach that, I protested. The word is NOT minIscule, it is minUscule. No wonder the younger generation cannot spell!

Today we were still in the Tudors. Having negotiated last week the beheading of Anne Boleyn and Henry's marriage to Jane Seymour without either mentioning sex, or having to explain adultery, to these eight year olds, I thought Anne of Cleves might be an easier task.

The lesson plan was all about ensuring that the children understood why she was chosen as Henry's fourth wife - and stressed that if he were to marry a foreign princess, "it was essential she was a Protestant like Henry himself."cleves The plan explained that France, Spain and Italy were Catholic, but there were other Protestants just like Henry in Norway, Sweden, Germany and the Low Countries.

No there weren't!! Henry's break with the Pope was all about "I want a divorce" and the Church of England. Nothing like the Reformation stuff coming out of the rest of Europe. But I don't think the lesson was meant to include heavy church history or deep theology - and I am not sure the person who had written the scheme understood it either!

"Do your best - it looks a fairly boring lesson" said the teacher. So I did, modifying things as I went along. The children worked very hard, and ended the day drawing careful copies of Holbein's portrait, alongside wonderful cartoons of "The Flanders Mare" with Tudor gown and horse's head. We all had fun.

No history with them next week - it will be a Healthy Eating Day when I next teach them. Perhaps we shall all learn to spell broccoli correctly! Bob and I are becoming very pedantic about language in our old age. He was recently accused of being a 'geranium' - but we think the lady meant 'grammarian' !

1 comment:

  1. When I was at secondary school we were taught one set of stuff for 'O' level sciences, then we we did 'A' level we were told that that had been "the 'O' level lie." When I was at university they debunked the 'A' level myth in favour of the undergraduate version... presumably had I gone further I'd have discovered even the postgraduate fairy tale.

    Come tothink of it, it isn't that different from my experiences of the Sunday School church, theology approach..!


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