Saturday, May 15, 2010

Teenage Style

English is not Sam's best subject.  He was on the edge of being in trouble for his grade the last grading period, but he managed to pull himself out of the depths the last few weeks.  This grading period I'm keeping on top of him and insisting on seeing everything before it's turned in.  Last week he had a paper due.  The assignment sheet literally spelled out what the teacher wanted to see with every sentence.  I'm not even kidding.  It was supposed to be a one page paper with four paragraphs and the instructions were one page long (typed) with four paragraphs.  What would be so hard about acing that paper?  All you have to do is go step by step and follow her directions.

Sam showed me his paper.  More accurately, Sam showed me his half-a-paper.  He read about the first two instructions for every paragraph and did a half ass job of following those instructions, and then called it good.  There were misspellings, grammar and punctuation mistakes, incomplete sentences etc. etc.  I told him he'd have to re-do it.  He got in a huff and said,

"You and Mrs. L. just don't like my style of writing."

Can you believe it?  He is 13 and has apparently found his writing style and it is, as I understand from Sam, purposely hard to read and seemingly sloppy and half-assed.  It's not that he's not trying, half-assed is a style.

After I stopped laughing, I told him to re-do it and told him specifically what needed to be changed.  He argued.  I got frustrated and said, "Why are you arguing with me?  I have a blog!"  Just kidding, I really didn't say that,  I said, "Why are you arguing with me? I'm an English teacher!" and he continued to argue why spelling "couple"   c u p p l e    is part of his style.  I told him, "Fine.  Do it yourself.  I hope you don't fail because your grades will determine how much fun you have this summer."  So he stormed off and put probably three-quarters of his ass into the assignment.  I don't know.  I wouldn't look at it again. 

Since then I've been watching him and this is a style that dictates more than just his writing.  He is a very helpful boy but I gotta say, this style of his is driving me a little nuts.

This is how you do things Teenage Style:

 Pulling weeds - Rip off the big leaves so it looks weeded, but don't pull any little weeds or any roots.

Cleaning - Pretend dust doesn't exist.  Only the middles of rooms need to be vacuumed. 

Laundry - Wash everything together and don't check any pockets.  So what if a tube of chapstick went through the dryer?  Those oily spots on everything are cool.

Picking up dog poop- Pick up half the dog poop and throw it in the bushes next to the house.

Mowing the lawn - Don't overlap at all so when you "finish" there are three inch wide grass mohawks all over the yard.

Looking for anything you can't find - Look for two seconds without moving anything or thinking about the logical place it would be, and then snottily ask your mom where she put it as if she's hiding things from you to drive you nuts.

On the bright side, teenage style is better than preteen style which as I gather from watching Kira is "leave a trail of destruction where ever you go."


  1. As an English teacher, this must drive you even more crazy. I feel the need to edit my 6 year old's writing...

    And you mean to tell me that the "leaving a trail of distruction" gets worse??? NO!

  2. Kira's trail of destruction is worse than Sam' s ever was but yes, I think it is getting worse. Even if I've been gone all day I can tell exactly what she's been up to by the mess she leaves wherever she goes.


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