Friday, November 28, 2008

The Kids are Alright

Today I went to work with E.

Her floor holds hundreds, but we were the only ones there, which is why I accompanied her. It's no big thing. If I'm going to grade stories, I can grade them anywhere. Indeed, being physically separated from all diversions other than the candy machines on the 6th floor focuses my mind wonderfully.

Today I graded the AP style test I gave the Advanced Reporting class last week. It was open book -- my god pity the fool and/or copy editor who memorizes the AP Stylebook. Having it bludgeoned into your memory through repeated reference, that's something else. It's like John McCain confessing, under duress and against his will.

But actually commiting it to memory? That's marching a host of valuable brain cells over the cliff, lemming-like, with as much purpose.

Yet yet yet. There are some things even though I insist you should look up everything, I think you should not have to look up.

Is your navel an inny or an outy? I don't want to see that hand creeping inside your shirt.

And so we come to the question on my style test that made me wince.
Four of 13 students choose "alright" over "all right." I understand that usage changes and that all the fine rules of spelling and grammar describe and do not prescribe. (Don't get me started on "hone in.")

How long before those four are correct, and the nine wrong?

it doesn't matter it doesn't it doesn't matter

Reporters don't need to know how to spell anyway, and some of the best of them used to spell the worst and punish grammar like a kid stomping ants.

And these four wrong answers helped *curve* the test grades, which us teachers love god forgive us. Oh we are devils, Satan, satanic even.

And by the way the capitalization in that last sentence is all delicious AP style.

You would have been so nailed.
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