05 February 2009

You Get What You Pay For

This post is in no way intended to defame or devalue any individual.  In fact, my success at my job depends greatly on the generosity of volunteers, so I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of people who are willing to give their time and effort for good causes.  I genuinely appreciate what the person who is the impetus for this post is doing.  My ire, I suppose, would be directed at the person or organization charged with the assurance of quality and accuracy with regard to these programs.  You know who you are . . you need to do better.

So Avery came home from school today (a short day, they were delayed 2 hours due to Tuesday night's snow . . 'splain that one to me) and told me about an advanced reading program she'd been selected to participate in.  Essentially, the kids leave the normal classroom, go meet with a volunteer and a group of other students and disucss a new book each week.  Ave loves to read, and she's been excited about the program for quite a while.  Well, today the volunteer was nice enough to send home a half-page note explaining the goals and expectations of program.  For what it's worth, she sounds like a very enthusiastic lady who genuinely cares about the kids and the program.  Unfortunately, at least in my eyes, her qualifications fall well short of the acceptable level to teach kids about reading.  See for yourself.

Ignore that part at the bottom . . those are words I think Avery's supposed to learn.  Concentrate instead on one of my all-time biggest pet peeves, using the wrong form of a word.  I won't nitpick her overly simple sentences and choppy writing style . . that's not everyone's game.  But look at the 3rd line.  How can you be teaching kids English and reading and use "then" instead of "than"?  Gahhhhhh!  A mere 2 lines later, another cardinal sin.  "I found it a great experience to discuss the story's with my child . . ."  Are you serious?  How can you be a functioning adult and not know the difference between plural and possessive???  NAILS ON THE CHALKBOARD!!   

I can look past the misuse of "They" at the beginning of the sentence "They will be assigned . . ", because I knew she was referring to the students in the group, but to that point she hadn't actually used the group as a noun.  You can't replace it with a pronoun if you haven't used it in the first place.  That one, in light of all of the rest, is pretty minor.

2 lines later, however, "story's" pops back up where "stories" should be.  At least she's consistent.  Unfortunately, it pops up in the middle of a convoluted and awfully run-on sentence.  I can't be bothered to pick it apart, it would take me all day.  

Then we get to the next sentence.  "I will be asking them each week if any of them looked up any of the vocabulary words."  Such unique words them and any must be that there are NO substitutes for them in this wonderful language of ours!   

Fast forward a couple more lines to the, well, we'll call it a sentence, that begins "It is interesting . . ."  In that little jewel, we're treated to not one but two incorrect usages of the word "there"!  The sentence's syntax is bad enough that I can't be bothered to try to correct it.  Not only did she use "there" instead of "their" twice in the same sentence,  but she did it in what is otherwise the worst sentence in the entire paragraph.  Oy vey!

Mercifully the letter ends with little more than an unnecessarily split "home work" (OK 2 of them).  I couldn't bear it if it'd gone on to fill the rest of the page!  

My plea is simply this . . if you're in charge of a program that's executed by volunteers, please please please inspect the product they distribute to your clientele.  By all means, thank them for what they do and praise their generosity, but do yourself a favor and give whatever they're sending home a good once-over.  The reputation of your organization can be negatively affected by overlooking these kinds of details.

04 February 2009

Another Day Off From School?

Yesterday, when I checked the forecast for the next 36 hours, I paid specific attention to the "predicted precipitation". Tuesday night into Wednesday . . 10%. Some days I wish the expectations on me were as low as they are for Meteorologists.

Anyway, when Mason got up to eat at around 4:00 this morning, I caught a glimpse of the winter wonderland outside the front door, and I felt compelled to photograph it before it was marred by sun and little shoes.

The little boxwood plants actually look un-tacky when dusted with powder.

Yesterday the doors on the cars were frozen shut. I imagine more of the same is in store for us today.

I love the clean lines you get when the snow settles on the patio furniture.

Shelter was probably at a premium last night . . I wonder if the bluebirds roosted in the box?

No baths this morning, that's for sure.

Enjoy your day off today if you're lucky enough to get one!