Footsies, I Tell You!

7 Nov

It’s Saturday!  And, what does any normal person do on a Saturday morning?  Probably not get up at 6:17 in the morning to work on a novel.  I haven’t even had coffee yet, can you believe it?  Believe me, I’ll be crafting a fine espresso beverage as soon as I hit publish on this post.

After hours of focus and diligent typing, I’ve managed to almost catch up to where I need to be.  Yesterday, when I posted last, I was at 7,385 words.  I’m pleased to say I’ve written 3,686 words since then.  Whee!

As fellow writers (and fellow humans), I think you will appreciate this little random story I’m about to tell.  My sister teaches 6th grade creative writing – how fun, right?  Um, apparently not.  This is her first year to teach the subject, after two dreadful years of teaching 7th grade math.  In the small town where she teaches, they require her to test the kids using those Scantron formats — multiple choice tests where kids have to fill in the bubbles to show their answers.  

I was pretty much appalled that for CREATIVE WRITING she had to give multiple choice tests.  What?!  Whatever happened to, say, writing creatively and getting a grade based on your work?  What’s even more appalling are some of the answers to the questions the kids had to answer.  The test was kind of dumbed down, because it was an assessment for my sister to see where she should start teaching them.  Even so: wow.  Listen to this.  

You tell me — when asked what part of speech the word “person” is, how is it freaking possible that more than half the class answered ‘verb?’  And, when asked what the plural of “foot” is, and given the choices A) foots, B) feet, C) feets, or D) footsies, what moron parents and/or teachers taught these children that “footsies” is the right answer?  Fifty-three percent said “footsies,” I tell you!  I’m astonished and perplexed and all those other words that sound so much better when coming out of Tim Gunn’s mouth.

Poor sister.  Poor kids!  She certainly has her work cut out for her.  I’m encouraging her to write Jen Lancaster-style books about all her crazy experiences.  She could probably turn out six different memoirs about her life, and they’d all be captivating and hilarious.  I’m serious.  The first one, which she’s already started, will be called I Make the Peppy Girls Cry, about being a tough (stuck-there-against-her-will) cheerleading sponsor for some catty-bratty junior high girls.  

On that note, in the midst of stressing about word counts or the right way to pace a novel, let’s just be thankful we know what verbs are and that those things with toes (or is it “toesies?”) at the end of them are called feet.  

NaNoMeter: 11,071 down | 38,929 to go

10 Responses to “Footsies, I Tell You!”

  1. J.C Saturday / 7 November 09 at 1:52 pm #

    LOL oh wow… I think even my four year old would get that right (not that she can read that well yet!), but I’d expect kids her age to says footsies more than the older ones wow. It’s probably more an example of the fact that they haven’t been taught things rather than showing what they have been taught. That said, the holes in their education are huge and I wish your sister a lot of luck and patience because I think she’s gonna need it!
    Also well done on your mammoth catch up job, you’re awesome!

  2. Merrilee Saturday / 7 November 09 at 8:47 pm #

    Grats on the wordcount! As for the test, I’m appalled, horrified, disgusted.

  3. joyofdawn Saturday / 7 November 09 at 10:59 pm #

    Everyone struggles with things but wow! I guess she should teach spelling class along with writing! heehee! That is just amazing but I beleive it. Many poeple think home schooled kids get a better education but that isn’t always so either. After attending a writing class for the past two years, I have seen some of this. That is what made the class fun though. My writing teacher suggested a grammer class before attending writing class next year, for many of the new students. They were all high school age for the most part!
    I missed writing today but I hope to catch up sometime tomorrow, even if I have to stay up so late that it turns into early morning. I haven’t come up with a title for my novel yet. It is forming with the story and I think I am pinning it down, finally.
    Great job on the word count! I can’t wait to pass 10,000! Way to go!

  4. kathleenwall Sunday / 8 November 09 at 3:00 pm #

    That’s pretty funny. Tell your sister not to despair. I used to teach high school English, and just because kids don’t know the words for things (no one teaches them grammatical terms anymore. It is, most unfortunately, out of style. And maybe they honestly don’t understand what the word “plural” means). But when it comes time for them to write a sentence in which they make the word “foot” plural, 50% of them won’t write “footsies.” LOL.
    What I think is even sadder than the children doing so poorly on their assessments is that they are being assessed with bubble tests. Writing can only be assessed through writing.
    Sounds like you are doing great with your novel. Keep it up!

    • kathleenwall Sunday / 8 November 09 at 3:03 pm #

      Sorry about that total fragment in my previous post. “Just because kids don’t know the words for things, they can still put together a grammatical sentence.” That’s what I was getting at, even though I guess I can’t make my own grammatical sentences. LOL.

  5. Laura Best Sunday / 8 November 09 at 5:59 pm #

    Wow! That’s kind of scary. Sounds as though your sister will have an interesting year.

    Congrats on your word accomplishment. You’re doing great! Keep up the good work.

  6. jenniferneri Monday / 9 November 09 at 7:44 pm #

    What a funny story! Funny? Sad?

    I think getting up at 6 in the morning is delicious.
    I haven’t been able to do so in ages, I am too fried for the rest of the day. Enjoy it!

  7. M.W. Griffith Tuesday / 10 November 09 at 1:45 pm #

    That’s sad. I certainly attempt to teach my little one to use and speak words correctly. She will not get what she wants if she says “Pweez.” Some critics think that’s a bit harsh, but they are the same type of folks that allow a television to raise their children.

  8. noraweston Wednesday / 11 November 09 at 9:34 am #

    Oh! Funny stuff that seems unbelievable, but since I’ve taught many grade levels…I totally understand. It’s truly sad some children are not being prepared for the real world.

    By the way, your blog is wonderful! I can’t image writing as quickly as you. Good luck with your novel.

  9. jendoll Thursday / 12 November 09 at 8:45 pm #

    HAHAHAHAHAH. WOW… How the public school system continues to fail the children. I have always had trouble with English (parts of speech/diagramming..) but NEVER, would I EVER have selected FOOTSIES!

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