Ranting English Teacher

Adriana King

We could have extended the school year, made a national decision to delay CSEC until next year. We could have but we didn’t. Why? Ask the brilliant minds at the Ministry of Education.

A few years ago a gentleman at a business place asked me, how could students get Grade 1s for English but be unable to speak Standard English. I said, “That’s easy!” I explained to him that English teachers are told to concentrate on content. At times we are allowed to subtract marks for grammar, spelling etc. but that’s an everyday cuss out now. I no longer take away points for poorly written short answer responses. I used to paint books red, point out every error, and make suggestions. It’s the way my teacher’s did it. I wasn’t traumatized. Now? I do things the ‘modern way’. English teachers should not upset students by highlighting all errors, it’s intimidating. So it becomes hard to remember which error you focused on last time and at times children would say, “But Miss I wrote that before.” I would then smile and put it down as human error and reinforce the correction.

Some children don’t read, and many can’t read… so English and ‘notes subject suffer’.

Anyways I am digressing.

Our Fifth Form students are going to come back with lots of Grade 1s. They are going in with passing SBAs and will only do a multiple choice. Every year I have a Form 5 class I relax a bit once all students start scoring 45/60 or above. The lowest should be 40/60. Right now English teachers are simply drilling rules and giving practice. We have stopped focusing on writing exhausting pieces. No one wants to be the teacher who did not give enough practice questions. You see CSEC brings back the same multiple choice questions year after year. The more past papers we hunt down the more likely it is for our students to ace the multiple choice.

I am writing all this to say the next few years when these children from last year and this year go off to colleges, universities and or start working it is all going to be interesting… but who cares.

Our education system was a mess before COVID-19 and the lack of foresight and interest at the Ministry of Education has only made things worse.

Not sure if this makes sense to you… Sometimes my finger is faster than my mind…

Adriana King

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