for expecting my son's school work to be marked by someone with a higher standard of english than him?

(56 Posts)
mostlyhappywithsomelowpressure Wed 16-Jan-13 19:42:22

My 7 yo son has lots of homework and one of the things he has is to make sentences from this week's spellings. It's a fun task and, though he gets wound up when he can't think of anything he works very hard at it and comes up with good stuff.

The work was initially (I believe) marked by the teacher and he was praised for using speech marks in part of it once, which I thought was a nice comment. But a few weeks in the writing changed. One week his name was spelt wrong (though it is on the front of the file the work comes in) but it is spelt unusually, a k instead of a c, I know it's confusing! Then another week it said 'be careful with you writting' WRITTING. I didn't say anything to that as my husband told me to leave it.

But today she has put 'Be carefully with your punctuation' and crossed out his speech marks which were in a totally relevant and acceptable place. Then she has put "can I come in" by way of exemplfying the correct use of speech marks. Now, if the use of speech marks is something they want to get away from so-be-it but 'be careFULLY' and to then not put the correct puntuation on her example of speech!!!!

I feel bad to criticise this woman but she is making my son feel like he's doing his work wrong (when he's just trying to do something a bit different) and she's really in no position to be doing so when she can't spell or use the correct tenses!!

And in case anyone thinks I might be slighting the abilities of a TA, I'm not, I am one and I would, rushed or not, make sure that if I were correcting or commenting on work, what I wrote was correct.

Shall I write to the teacher or just let it continue??

catladycourtney1 Sun 20-Jan-13 17:18:46

I corrected teachers' spelling on multiple occasions when I was at school. But mainly just to be a bit of a smart-arse, really. I do think that teachers ought to have a sufficient grasp of spelling to cover the words they will be using in their job, though.
I had a young-ish English A-Level teacher who, according to her, was not teaching us, but "learning" us. And she wasn't lending me a pen, she was "borrowing" me one. We also had a bit of a falling out once over how to spell "jewellery". I mean, she was a smart woman and I'm sure she knew what she was talking about, but how can someone who has spent a sizeable chunk of her life wanting and training to teach English still be making mistakes like those?

DreamingOfTheMaldives Fri 18-Jan-13 08:02:19

I can't imagine the op has deleted her account because people corrected her spelling and grammar. It's more likely that she deleted her account because she posted a question as she was concerned about the ability of the person marking her son's homework and other posters took it as an opportunity to be rather smug and display their superior spelling and grammar skills.

I imagine few of us know a significant amount about medicine but we would still reserve the right to complain about our doctor if we thought his standards fell short of what was expected. Why shouldn't the OP complain about the teacher/TA's marking abilities, irrespective of her own abilities.

Please feel free to correct any spelling and grammar mistakes I may have made, if it will make you feel better.

greenbananas Fri 18-Jan-13 07:53:00

Greenbananas - the teacher 'asking' your niece for spellings before writing them on the board was most likely a confidence booster and teaching tool for your niece whose needs stretched far beyond the early years curriculum.

I understand what you are saying, but in this case that wasn't what was happening. The teacher used to spell things wrong on the board quite regularly, and my niece used to point it out. Eventually the teacher started checking 'difficult' words with her before writing them. Letters to parents also contained lots of spelling mistakes. The teacher was a lovely woman, and a good teacher in other ways, but spelling was not her strong point!

MoreFrontThanBrighton Fri 18-Jan-13 07:18:07

Greenbananas - the teacher 'asking' your niece for spellings before writing them on the board was most likely a confidence booster and teaching tool for your niece whose needs stretched far beyond the early years curriculum.
Of course as you know, being a TA, being a very advanced reader does not necessarily mean you are an advanced speller too hmm

coraltoes Fri 18-Jan-13 06:56:29

I would get very cross with the teacher in this instance. If you teach maths I can forgive spelling errors, if you teach French I can forgive poor Spanish, if you teach English you really ought to have a firm grasp of spelling and grammar.

As for deleting your account, do you think we really give a shit? Just do it, don't announce it, in the hope of "oh please stay, please don't leave the site because of pedants" pleas.

It makes me wince.

Apparently it's also acceptable these days to say 'who did you give it to' and 'different to'.

Doesn't mean I have to like it.

(Am I doing a successful imitation of my grouchy pedantic grandpa? Why yes!)

JusticeCrab Thu 17-Jan-13 22:56:25

By the way: sorry to burst all your bubbles, but 'spelt wrong' is correct.

Chambers dictionary lists an adverbial definition for 'wrong'. 'Wrongly' is simply an alternative and equally acceptable adverbial form.

JusticeCrab Thu 17-Jan-13 22:50:16

You deleted your account because a couple of people criticised your spelling and grammar?!!

Jesus fucking Christ.

Verbs go with adverbs; nouns go with adjectives. 'Spelt' is a verb.

pilgit - oh, are you me?! I had a teacher who did that! She did it every time I wrote a number the wrong way around. I can honestly still feel the same way I did then, really upset and confused. And I remember feeling how unfair it was that she didn't explain.

That's why I think the correction of something that was right is so much worse than the other things. It's not in the same league IMO.

Greythorne Thu 17-Jan-13 21:19:14

"Spelt wrong" is correct, surely?

Pilgit Thu 17-Jan-13 21:12:50

YANBU - comments in books should be correct and informative. I have a vivid memory of having 2+2=4 being marked as wrong as I had written a clear 4 the wrong way round. I am left handed and had (and still do when v tired) significant problems with getting letters and numbers round the correct way. I just didn't get it. There was nothing to 'indicate that I'd got the maths right but the writing wrong. This and a few other examples completely undermined my confidence in maths. My point is that careful thought should be given to such comments and marking. Saying something that is correct is wrong can severely undermine confidence.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catladycourtney1 Thu 17-Jan-13 20:52:53

Yes, you absolutely should say something. I'm a bit of a correct-spelling-and-grammar enthusiast but things like that really go through me, and even moreso when it's someone charged with teaching children! I work as a cleaner in a nursery, and there's a wall display showing the group rules, one of which, apparently, is "we use are teeth to eat food." Eurrgh. It's not really my place to point it out, but I really wish somebody would.

beer - all I was originally getting at was, I think anyone can make a slip or two. Like the OP did, and like the TA did when she wrote 'writting' not 'writing'. What I don't think anyone teaching should do, is to correct something that was right in the first place. That's not a casual error and it is really unfair on a child to do that.

TheFallenNinja Thu 17-Jan-13 20:46:14

If only to correct my own spelling confused

TheFallenNinja Thu 17-Jan-13 20:45:32

If be up there. No hesitation.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mostly, I really am sorry I offended you. I only meant it as a light comment, and I did say that, of course, you're only on a forum not marking work.

I'm sorry you feel the need to delete your account.

I'm not sure what else to say, TBH.

greenbananas Thu 17-Jan-13 18:44:10

I used to be a TA and I have an honours degree in English. I hope there aren't any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in my post!

I have noticed that a few primary teachers don't have the literacy skills that I feel are essential to teach young children. It used to frustrate me when working with them.

My first niece regularly got her correct spellings marked wrong when she was in primary school. It used to annoy her quite a lot. My third niece's reception teacher used to ask her how to spell things before writing them on the board (my third niece is a bit of a prodigy, and had a 'reading age' of about 12 by the time she started school, but I still feel her reception teacher should have had better literacy skills).

mostlyhappywithsomelowpressure Thu 17-Jan-13 18:35:22

not just you LRD but that started it. Mainly hollyberrybush and her unnecessary critism of my FE PGCE qualificiations!!!!!!! I know this topic section says dont get offended by comments but i didnt think my post would illicit critisism of me.

And yeah there are no apostrophes and some spelling mistakes and ive just started a sentence with and. Who gives a s**t. IM NOT MARKING KIDS WORK. Going to delete my account off here now.

merrymouse Thu 17-Jan-13 07:03:55

You should definitely make your son's teacher aware of these comments.

What if they had been made on the book of a child who didn't have an adult available to spot the marker's mistakes? It's too confusing.

HecateWhoopass Thu 17-Jan-13 06:46:29

I think you should go in with the book and say look, this isn't acceptable. Someone who is teaching someone English should be good enough in it that they aren't teaching that person bloody mistakes!

To accept it is like saying that you can be taught maths by someone who can't do long division and that it's ok to teach them that 2+2=5. Wrong is wrong and when you are teaching someone, it is important to get it right. They rely on you to be right.

JusticeCrab Thu 17-Jan-13 06:37:41

'In my school, we are allowed to ask TAs to mark work that doesn't require formative marking, so things like homework and spelling tests etc.'

Interesting that this is the case in some schools. In the OP's case the marking was very much formative. I would be having a word with the school about this, as it appears to be outside the scope of this TA's competence.

(DM is a retired HLTA, by the way).

sashh Thu 17-Jan-13 03:42:34

FE teachers aren't fully qualified

Wtf? So I wasted 2 years of my life learning how to teach?

OP yes you need to address this.

I am a TA and mark homework, spellings and any test such as in- class mental maths test where there is a list of answers (even though I could work them out for myself grin )
I am not allowed to make comments, nor would I want to. That is for the teachers I work with to do smile I mark (sometimes) and then pass the books to the teacher who checks through it and makes comments where required.

I think what OP has seen in her ds's book is shocking and I would most certainly be going in to talk to the teacher about it if I was OP.

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