Tag Archives: English teachers

Teachers

My aunts are retired English teachers. No, we moved before I had them in “class” but I was in class all my life. When I used the “loo” I had to look at the dictionary, find a word I did not know, spell it, define it and use it in a sentence.

Learning to read at age four I read Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet, at another school but these were the teachers I wanted to be. Second grade (I was a year early) I was reading The Diary of Anne Franke and Death Be Not Proud. It was a hobby, and a mission.

Years ago someone took me to dinner with a psychic. She told me I was going to be a teacher. I was a teacher of non-profit organizations for years, help my husband consulting with huge corporations and do my best with pups in our neighborhood.

I’m not a renowned English teacher that teaches Shakespeare, the Holocaust, or of Native Americans. I am and will always be a teacher. Dee, Retired but still volunteering. D

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“Lite”

I’ve always hated that word. When my English teacher aunts allowed me to use their powder room there was the OED atop the loo. I was expected to take out the dictionary, learn a word, spell it and use it in a sentence.

They would be horrified that the non-word “lite” has become common verbiage.

Years later my colleague and house-mate knew where to go for free food. Insurance industry Monday with Oysters Rockefeller. Tuesday was free tacos at the judge’s and lawyers’ pub, you get the picture.

She actually put a banana in her purse once. We were working crazy hours with no pay. For a week we decided to get frozen food that was low in calories.

It tasted OK but in the end she said “two of these might make a dinner.” We agreed and haven’t been in touch for a while but I love her and her family for making me a better person, and cook. Yes, her brother has stories about me making tapenade for a party and the assistant I sent to the store didn’t get pitted olives, get it? He was bringing up a keg and caught me. My food processor was not happy with olive pits.

If there was ever a family I wanted to know it was this one. And when we all, about 20, went camping I brought utensils. seasonings et al. The guys went out early morning and thankfully gutted the trout they had caught. I had my flour and seasonings and I cooked it up for everyone and it’s some of the best fish I’ve ever had.

Some are memories and camaraderie, some taste memories of the freshest fish I’ve ever cooked and eaten (with a hand pump and a loo across the way). It was a good weekend. I’m glad I brought ingredients. That’s me, Dee

 

Teaching

I have been blessed with some wonderful teachers in my life, from family (parents, aunts, friends) to music teachers of violin and piano and guitar.

Also history of NY State, world art history professor who also taught Renaissance and Reformation, my dear Fr. Cap with Sociology and his infamous Barbie lecture. That alone was worth the price of college.

My aunts are retired English teachers but we moved away before I got to learn from them in high school. It’s OK, I’ve learned from them my entire life and I’m not afraid of them as their students were!

Steven G and I both had parents that taught us how to read early. The school wanted to throw away the old curriculum and teach phonics instead. Both our parents rebelled so we were reading at the 4th and 5th and above grade level at age six and were sent to read by ourselves at the back of the room while ITA was taught to the others.

It was cool for a girl to be smart back then, before puberty. I always wonder what happened to Steven G as I was growing up in another state I was repeatedly asked to dumb it down, let guys win at ping pong, don’t ever be smarter than your date.

I’m not smarter than my permanent date for 12 years, simply because he is a mathematical genius. But he is someone I can talk with at the breakfast and dinner table and have a real conversation. Imagine that.

On another matter, lessons learned. This weekend is the 10th anniversary of Queer Eye, which I loved. Here’s what I tried to post on Slate’s new site:

I loved that show! I’m a straight woman with many gay friends and it made it OK. My husband lived in a man cave when we met. Now we have furniture (thanks, Thom) and there are no individual string cheese wrappers on the floor. Instead he opines on whether he prefers the four-year or five-year cheddar! And I was his intervention, not QE. Thanks anyway, Ted. We’re getting him fitted for some bespoke shirts this weekend, Carson. No suits or ties, so the shirt must make a statement.

Yes, those are teachers as well. Thanks Fab Five! In the interest of education, at Whole Foods yesterday I picked out the strangest veg I’ve ever seen, a black radish. He loves pummelos and star fruit and loves something new so we’re always being edjumicated. Ha! Thought you’d like that one.

We continue on a path of literature, writing, cooking, engineering and trying to learn something new every day. Thanks to my lifelong teachers for making me want to learn through mid-life and senior years. Cheers and have a great day, Dee

Bullies and Bully Pulpits

I recently read about a mother who told her young daughter that if someone hit her, to hit back. That second child is no longer welcome as a friend at school. I don’t know if that’s the cost of political correctness but I do think it is the cost of the long-lost art of language.

When colleges and employers laugh at literary arts majors, that undermines our culture’s language skills, which are needed in this technological and terrorist age.

Yes, I equate bullies with potential terrorists, because if they are allowed to get away with this behavior it will continue into adulthood. Bullies are insecure so will use their tactics in the workplace and in the home. These are our home-grown terrorists. No, they don’t make bombs, they just create dysfunctional families that perpetuate the activity because the kids don’t know a better way to communicate.

My aunt is a retired English teacher. There was a dictionary in her powder room and every time I used it I had to open a page and look up a word and tell her what it meant.

When I was a child my allowance was fifty cents per week. So was my sister’s. If we called each other dumb or stupid we were docked a nickel every time. That was a candy bar. We stopped that and started talking. Of course we fought all the time but never, ever laid hands on each other. We wouldn’t even think of hitting one another.

In the end there were four siblings who ended up smart, didn’t hit each other or anyone at school. There was one incident where some boys took my winter hat off me on the bus and ripped it in half. I was sobbing so was brought to the principal’s office where I promptly identified the wrongdoers. I was eight years old and very shy.

To identify them was a watershed for me. It was short-lived (they had no phone and no principal’s note ever made it to their parents) but the kids on the bus protected me from then on. No-one ever fought, it was just made clear that this would never happen again because there were more good kids on the bus than a family of bullies.

Language skills are key. OK, if someone wants your purse and has a gun or knife, just give it to them, but it is key to teach children to talk through issues.

That’s where we get to politicians. Yes, it’s time for political ads and most are negative. If I were to want a political office, I would focus on what I could do for my neighborhood, town, city, state or country. All we hear today is how so-and-so voted against this and for huge bailouts et al.

These politicians are out at the flagpole at 3:00 ready to fight. The American people deserve better. I don’t want someone voting on budgets or health care who only wants to hurt his/her opponent publicly. I want to know their policy ideas and voting records and how they’re going to help my family.

I want someone with language skills who will state the platform, tell what party he/she is with and what will be done if elected. Is that too much to ask?

Right now I see one party that’s exclusive, one that’s inclusive and that’s been the battle for decades. I didn’t see that many years ago but then again I was only a committee analyst, never a politician.

If we don’t force change on the negative tactics of our politician wanna-be’s and incumbents, it’s We, the People, who will lose. Going for the pretty face or hard core party loyalty, gone.

Right now all these politicians who have no platform except negative attack ads on their opponent are bullies, pure and simple.

Bullying is what we teach our children every day. Let’s put a stop to it. Language skills. Thanks AL and J, my English mentors, Dee