Jump to content


Grammarians in Hoodies

Miss Mousie

Recommended Posts

Here is an interesting article about a Massachusetts high school English class:




A snippet:


Six teenage boys wearing sweats huddle around a few chairs and desks. Fluorescent lights expose freckles, facial stubble, or no stubble at all. A tall boy named Mike leans over his desk and tells the others, “This guy was, like, on crack or something.â€


“No,†says a boy named Max in a black rock band T-shirt. “He was on PCP.â€


A few nod their heads in agreement. They could be talking about a sophomore who got wasted over the weekend or a senior who got busted in the parking lot, by all appearances, but they’re actually discussing the president of a road-racing company, a man whose crimes had nothing to do with illegal substances. He earned the attention of these students through a poorly written letter, one that caught the eye of Ms. Andrea Bassett, an Honors English teacher at Needham High School in Massachusetts.


Max reads a printout of the letter to the other boys as if he were dropping meat into a shark tank. “‘In trying to formulate what to say in regards to yesterday’s events,’†Max quotes, “‘I realized that what I said over and over to the folks I helped get on returning shuttle buses was exactly what should be said to all.’â€


“What?†someone exclaims. Everyone laughs. “He just throws in words!†Max says. He goes on to finish the opening paragraph.


“‘While it became repetitive, it was no less from the heart in any one time from the other:’â€


“He ended with a colon,†says a boy who didn’t shave that morning.


“You can pretty much revise the first paragraph,†says Mike, his cheek on his hand.


A stocky kid named David chimes in. “That’s not just bad grammar,†he says, indignant. “That’s, like, bad PR.â€


His comment catches the attention of Ms. Bassett, who is making rounds to each cluster of students. “David,†she says, “the life lesson here is that bad grammar is bad PR. You guys remember that.â€



Of course, the teacher should have said "poor grammar is bad PR," but I'll let that one slide. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, my goodness! My family is like that! My dad used to bring home business letters that were poorly written and put them on the fridge for all to see. I worked as a writer/editor for a company newsletter for a while before I was married. My own kids absolutely DELIGHT in catching other people's spelling and grammar mistakes (of course, they're more lenient about their own mistakes).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the creativity of this teacher and even more so, the intellectual discussion of the students. It's always amazing how something as simple as a poorly written letter can spark dialog among students.

Kudos to the teacher!



I agree, and the bolded part generally is one of the reasons I have settled for afterschooling. The best parts of high school for me were the discussions in my literature and history classes. The kids in the article clearly had a strong camaraderie, and I want very much for my son to have that someday. Discussing with Mom only wouldn't cut it, IMHO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...