One of life’s most painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn’t do our homework, that we are not prepared. ~ Merlin Olsen
I was a good student back in the olden days of yore. We learned things in class, by way of our teachers using a blackboard and chalk, or an overhead projector for illustrating problems and examples, as we scribbled away in our spiral bound notebooks.
Then we lugged all our textbooks home to do our assigned reading, and hand wrote essays and solved problems on our three ring binder paper to turn in the next day. Research was done in the library using books or periodicals, with notes hand scribbled for reference.
Essential reference books at home included a good dictionary, Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style”, that pearl gray “English Reference Book”, a set of current encyclopedias, “Roget’s Thesaurus” and a Spanish/English or French/English dictionary, depending on which language one studied.
There were no computers, no calculators, and typewriters were seldom used. I never took typing in school, rather I just picked it up in college. We used slide rules instead of calculators.
I remember enjoying biology (but not chemistry), algebra and geometry (but not calculus) and making do with Spanish, history and civics (do they even teach that anymore?). Oh, and we had PE every day!
English? I was so intimidated by my teacher, Mrs. Berndt in room 319 at Lamar HS (I still remember the room number!) that I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I sure learned how to read analytically and write concisely with correct grammar and an extensive vocabulary. She was awesome, and I thank her every day for her tutelage.
However, I dreaded going into that room, for fear of a pop quiz, which was her favorite thing to do to make sure we were reading our assigned topics. Is there such a thing as a pop quiz anymore?
Funny, when she passed away awhile back, I did the math, and discovered that she was in her late 40’s when she taught me (for three years straight). We thought she was ancient… yikes. I must seem REALLY ancient to my young high school friends now!
Speaking of those dear babes, recently two of them posted some homework comments on Facebook:
AL: “It takes one SL Bio notebook, one HL Bio binder, HL moodle, and an IB Bio study guide to study for a test. Remember when we actually knew what would be on tests in SL?”
ME: “I give up. What’s a moodle? Sounds like a cross between a maltese and a poodle!”
AL: “It’s a website that we use. Our teacher has our assessment statements on there, and animations.”
And yet another:
KB: “ALG 2 hw, anyone remember the rules to inequalities for when X has to be equal to and/or greater or less than both pos and neg #’s, it’s involving absolute values, and I’m stumped.”
FB: “okay inequalities such as greater than or less than and or equal to, involving the absolute value of x.”
I would be helplessly lost if you threw me back into such an environment, luddite that I am. But I must say I’m impressed at the ease that my young friends have with the latest technology!
But what about their writing skills? This is not a comment on the aforementioned young ladies, but rather an overall observation that many of their generation cannot write or spell worth a darn. Tune in next week for the exposé on this scandalous situation!