Last night I was grading grammar packets about the types of sentences. After reading the last writing assignment that my students completed, I realized that we needed a refresher course on correctly written compound and complex sentences. In one section of the packet, students were asked to write compound sentences. One student in my 2nd period wrote this:
I don't like my 2nd period, but I am glad that I have Ms. Herring.
At first, I was frustrated that she used her grammar packet to make a statement, even if her sentence was grammatically correct. However, it didn't take me long to realize that she felt like this was the only way for her to get her point across to me. This student has made it pretty plain all year that she is not a fan of English. For a long time, I thought it was me, and I tried to talk to her in the halls, say hello between classes, ask about her weekend, and basically find any way to connect with her that was not related to language arts. Through all of this, I guess my hope was that our interactions would lead to her discovering a newfound love for the English language. My, how idealistic I can be...
This one, little compound sentence reminded me of my purpose. My job is not to somehow be so grammatically inspiring that my students just fall in love with the beauty of prepositional phrases. My job is to help them understand that correctly written work gets you a farther in life. You don't have to like it, or even appreciate it as an art, but you do have to attempt to learn it. I've been dealing with what feels like a lot of apathy in my classes lately. I'm sure it has something to do with the time of year. It's just blah right now, and even I feel it. But maybe that's the problem. If I can't foster a great love for the art of writing, I can at least make it bearable for those who have no desire to enjoy it. I want my students to all be "glad they have Ms. Herring," even if they will never like English. Hear's to grinning and bearing it. Happy Wednesday everyone!