Shasta County, California. Remote Freelance Writer

A Letter to My English Teachers

English classes

Learning correct English.

Dear English Teachers,

 

Struggling throughout school trying to figure out past participles, adjectives, adverbs. Got the conjunction bit; well, I think so.

 

Oh teacher, it never had to be so complicated. You could’ve let us run with our thoughts slapped on paper and hen-pecked it out over the manual typewriter. Heaven knows we got plenty of arm exercise with slamming that carriage back and forth.

 

See, all you needed was to teach us was the art of putting comprehendible garble on paper. In a few decades, we had plenty of advocates to correct our English errors. Thanks to spellcheck in a multitude of programs. And Word was a blessing for us that never quite mustered up to your correct textbook language skills.

 

Hey, you never knew that starting a sentence with “And” was okay. You just had to wait for it. My spell checker is amazing. Makes me look smarter than those C- and D’s you used to give me.

 

Perhaps I was born too early.

 

And now typing with my uncontrollable thoughts bombarding the white space, blue or red lines appear under words, and I go check it out. Wham! Changes it for me if I agree. No eraser or holes in the paper from that furious rubbing.

 

If I’m not happy where it sits, I copy and paste, planting the words elsewhere on the page. Even another plus, the program co-creates for me. I type a word and “it thinks” the correct sequence of wording, I can press “tab”. Wow, so easy…

 

I can only imagine how brilliant I could have been with today’s technology eons ago. Alas, I was born in the first year of the Baby Boomer Generation. Seen so many changes in my life, hate to have missed them.

 

How about those comedy shows?

 

There was a time when we believed Dick Tracy’s watch was science fiction. Yet in my lifetime, it has happened. Or the weekly comedy show of Get Smart back in 1965 with Agent 86 talking into his shoe.

 

There was the age of a remote device miraculously connecting our TV. No longer requiring you to run across the room to change the channels. Reluctantly, I adopted the change. Now I have no idea how to muster it without one.

 

People can walk around talking to themselves. With or without a phone. Or something stuck in their ear. And no one assumes they are crazy. How things have changed. And I’ve witnessed a part of the infancy of technology. Amazing.

 

Whoever imagined you could work from home on a keyboard? And zap, send info over to your boss instantly.

 

And we no longer reference a mouse as a rodent.

 

I recall one of the first handheld scanners. We tried to keep it steady and scan the whole page. What a bust on that invention. It went back to the store after numerous attempts.

 

Many first trial inventions gave way to tremendous improvements. Phenomenal ones compared to the antiquated way of doing tedious tasks of even just a few decades prior.

 

And I experienced the difficulties, eventually relishing in the marvelous technology. Never taking for granted the blessings.

 

I remember going to someone’s house in the late 50s to make a tape recording to send a message to my grandmother in England. After editing and transferring to another tape. It was in the mail for her to receive a few weeks later.

 

Today, we never need to be isolated from friends and family. Physically, yes, but we can see and talk to them instantly with Zoom. And with our digital cameras, we can send pictures and videos to anyone around the world in seconds. Sign-up for Facebook and build a community of people to engage with daily.

 

We have smart phones, TVs, thermostats. Think it and it probably has a “smart” version.

 

10-year-olds are savvy in technology but may have lost the ability of problem solving without it. But in a spectacular position to achieve wonders, thanks to those creators of such powerful software.

 

Us folks adorned with gray hair might want to take a step back away from our electronic devices. Breathe in fresh air, stare at the walls, or curl up in a chair in a sunny window to read a book. A hard covered book with paper pages.

 

We drift back to technology; hopelessly dumb founded of what to do if the power goes out. I still enjoy sitting in a waiting room doing nothing. Even gray-haired ladies are on cellphones playing games. It makes me smile and pleased that I can enjoy the solitude even in a busy bustling environment.

 

Don’t want to return to bygone years, even though it was less complicated. When escaping from the phone was possible. Because taking it with you wasn’t an option.

 

I gravitate to the internet; a place to search for any information that I seek. Just having knowledge at my fingertips is empowering.

 

Yes, dear teachers, you never could’ve dreamed it.

 

But here I am, one of your students who remembers the hours you put into teaching our young minds. Appreciate the discipline you provided. Even though rules have changed on writing, it’s still ingrained to be mindful of correct English when necessary. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

 

♦ An amazing software program. Read the review here.

 

4 Responses to A Letter to My English Teachers

  • I remember studying for an entire summer to go from phonetic to correct spelling as I was starting college. That effort sure paid dividends as we were not yet able to use computers and my typing skills were less than refined. I thought my first Tandy Color Computer was a gift from God.

    • Times have changed and we were around to appreciate the changes. So many things in our life time have happened. I remember when I was a kid and they talked about cougars on the island. Never knew what one looked like until they brought it to school on the top of a station wagon (shot). Apparently it had been stalking people and killing sheep. Today if anyone wants to know about something or what it looks like you can just go to Google and look it up.

  • Without teacher the student is nothing. We should praise them always. Keep sharing such a valuable stuff.

    • Teachers have taught us in the years we were growing up. Many lessons I learned from them have been stuck firmly in my brain. But not all of what they taught is relevant for online writing. A teacher recently answered some interview questions for me. The reading score was around 11.5, very hard to understand. The sentences rattled on for ages and the paragraph was long. Could have said the same thing in about a third of what she wrote. So, I do appreciate their teachings, at some point we have to write and speak for the average reader. No more than an 8th grade level. Easily done by saying less and shorten the sentences.

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