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Teachers and grocers' apostrophes.

(14 Posts)
MyEye Sat 06-Sep-08 18:30:27

Please tell me, what's the protocol when your child's teacher (y2) hands out notes for parents at the start of the school year, and they are studded with grocers' apostrophes? (Not to mention general misspellings, but I'll have to let that go -- sigh.)

I just don't think she gets it. Either that, or she doesn't think it's important. And yet the notes bang on about the importance of full stops and caps in the right places, and how it's our duty to reinforce correct usage...

DD has enthusiastically picked up on the apostrophe and now pops it in whenever a noun ends with 's' -- lots of sport's, for eg. So it's an issue. And it's going to drive me mad all year if her teacher continues to muddle what is already a fairly muddling issue.


takingitasitcomes Sat 06-Sep-08 20:32:29

Your post is really depressing - I'm a teacher myself and admit to being an entrenched pedant about apostrophes. I have made it a wee bit of a personal mission to make sure every child I have taught ends up using them correctly.

If this happened at my school we could rely on parents to bring the notes back with corrections marked in red - and that's exactly what I think you should do. The teacher should be made aware of her problem and I also think her superiors should know so that they can follow up on her as she learns the apostrophe rules. I know that might sound a wee bit harsh, but think how many children she will be mis-teaching sad. Don't worry about being a 'pushy' mum... grammar is worth fighting for!

Slouchy Sat 06-Sep-08 20:34:45

As a teacher myself, I would speak to her. Maths isn't my strong point but no one would let it go if I sent home a note stating that pupils needed to learn the 2x table, right up to 10 x 2 = 21. Nor should they!

SubRosa Sun 07-Sep-08 11:48:27

Is it the teacher or school secretary? I mentioned multiple spelling and grammar errors in dd's school newsletters to her teacher and it turned out to be the secretary. The secretary has hated me ever since, can't think why grin

edam Sun 07-Sep-08 11:59:22

Oh dear. I know lots of people make excuses and think it is being picky to point this sort of thing out but it would drive me mad. It clearly is something that has to be corrected if it's affecting the children. Especially since the notes are about bloody punctuation!

Tilia Sun 07-Sep-08 12:06:25

Aaargh, MyEye. You have my sympathy. My sons' school is a "good" state primary but I was amazed and (and somewhat horrified) that some posters by years 5 or 6 had been printed out and placed in pride of place for visitors to see, complete with apostrophe-plurals and terrible spelling howlers. So then everybody thinks this is great work and it must be correct. Is is great work, apart from the mistakes which I think the teachers ought to have helped the children to fix first. What to do? I suppose I ought to ask the head what the policy is, and I could perhaps do it through the parents' forum which has recently been set up. Could you try something similar? Spelling and punctuation are worth fighting for - as well as grammar, as takingitasitcomes says. And Slouchy's hit the nail on the head.

UnquietDad Sun 07-Sep-08 13:33:15

We have observed this problem. It's depressing. If you point it out they either laugh it off or think you are some kind of pedantic weirdo.

ratbunny Sun 07-Sep-08 13:51:53

tbh y2 children will begin using apostrophes everywhere, just like when they learn to use full stops they put them everywhere. It is only further up the school that they are taught the correct way of using them. I correct anyway, just so the children see proper usage of them, but they won't yet understand the complex rules of how to use them (eg plural possession).
and as for Y5/6 work being displayed with mistakes. I don't think it is necessary that work can only be displayed if it is totally correct! If that was the case then some children would NEVER get their work displayed, unless they rewrote it several times!
By all means say something, but I think I would wait and see if she corrects your child's incorrect use of apostrophes before saying something tbh..

UnquietDad Sun 07-Sep-08 14:00:18

I don't remember peppering my work with apostrophes. I learnt to write from reading. Once you have seen it's and its in context, you should never confuse them, because you KNOW they are two entirely different things.

It's like their, there and they're. I want to STRANGLE people who get these mixed up. They are as confusable as diesel oil and olive oil, for gawd's sake. I remember my English teacher in secondary first year (Y7) setting us a homework of distinguishing between them and writing a sentence including each of them. I couldn't believe it at the time. Why the hell would anyone need to be told they were different? It baffled me even then.

Slouchy Sun 07-Sep-08 15:55:12

It is a known fact that children will overuse a new writing skill (be it apostrophes, commas or adverbs) when they first become aware of it. Then their awareness of the skill becomes knowledge about the skill and they learn to use it more appropriately. And to be fair, apostrophes are confusing because they do two totally separate jobs.

But I do think this particular (adult) error needs pointing out.

MyEye Sun 07-Sep-08 20:03:08

Thanks for comments. I think ratbunny's suggestion, to wait and see whether she corrects an incorrect usage, is how I'll play it for now. She is fairly scary. And, to be fair, I just went through the print-out and there's only one GA in there which might be a typo. There was at least one other on the whiteboard presentation she gave us, but I guess 'studded with GAs' is a slight exaggeration [straw-clutching].

Bubble99 Sun 07-Sep-08 20:14:06

I find this depressing, too.

DS2 had a comment in his workbook, boldly written in red pen - and misspelt.

I think (and I'll probably get flamed for this) that this is the result of poorly educated (grammatically, at least) pupils going on to become teachers.

I had to (really, I had to) point out a 'you're/your' recently to a teacher and I noticed a 'she's off again' expression.

And yes, this post is probably full of errors (paranoid? Moi?) - but I'm not officially educating children.

squeaver Sun 07-Sep-08 20:26:22

UQD - you're so right. I honestly have no recollection of being taught their/they're or its/it's. I just read a lot and knew by the context what was correct.

And Bubble, you're right too. No-one corrected these teachers when they were pupils and this is the consequence. But why were they not corrected at teacher training college?

I feel a bit Daily Mail-ish about this, but also utterly justified in my opinion!

Cathpot Sun 07-Sep-08 20:31:23

I am a teacher (or at least was, now sahm but I will be back mwha ha ha ha...)you are right Bubble99, I was not taught grammar myself in any formal way. I eventually trained as a science teacher so it was less of an issue for me in my recent teaching career, but a few years before I did my PGCE I did a TEFL course and taught English abroad. The TEFL course was a big wake up call as to how scanty my knowledge of grammar was (and how poor my spelling). I had basically worked it out myself via reading and had never thought about how the language was constructed. I am in my 30s and I think other teachers my age may well have had a similar experience. I thought things had swung back to a more structured teaching of grammar now, is this right? I have to say if teaching grammar to children was a specific part of my job I would be reading up on it sharpish. Have just read a very interesting book called 'Why children cant read' which is scathing of the methods used to teach children of my generation to read (and write).

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