If you pulled a student from every 5th grade class I’ve ever taught, lined them up, and then asked, “What’s important in Mrs. Phillips’s (or Miss Mimick, for those early groups) class?” you’d hear a variety of responses.
Writing time is quiet work time.
Use your resources.
The list goes on. But one thing I guarantee each child would remember, is my dedication to grammar. My students do not get away with “lazy” speech. If a student comes up and asks if “me and Jason” can go in the hall to read, they get the same response.
The first few times, this is met with a surprised expression, “Me and Jason.”
Here, they start to think. What’s wrong with what I asked? Usually, once we’re a few weeks into the school year, they are able to quickly correct themselves. “I mean, may Jason and I go into the hall to read?”
Their reward is a broad smile and permission to go in the hall. I’m pleased and proud.
Part of my dedication to grammar comes from being a writer. I love language and feel it’s one of my duties to help my students realize that speaking properly will get them farther in life. It makes them sound smarter, more reliable. Mature.
The other part comes from my mom. I remember a period in my life (I’m thinking probably junior high) where I was constantly being reminded to speak correctly. As annoying as it was then (This is home, not school, why should I care about how I talk?), I’m incredibly grateful that she helped me understand the importance of grammar. It makes me a stronger writer. It makes me a stronger teacher. And it just makes me sound smart. 🙂
I know that this focus on grammar is carrying into my student’s home lives based on stories that parents have shared with me. Here’s my favorite:
When speaking with a parent of a student I taught two years ago, I was told that grammar had become more important in their house. The student (a 5th grader at the time) took it upon himself to correct his 2nd grade sister whenever she said “me and _____” at home. He would shake his head, tell her how she should’ve said it, and then inform her, “That’s not going to fly when you’re in Mrs. Phillips’s class.”
Love, love, LOVE it!
Making grammar more glamorous,