16 October 2013

Affected by the Hearsay Minions

I've been decidedly out of sorts recently, and no, it's not about the headache - I've recovered from that, although I am dreading the bills. Whatever. It's only money.

Partly I'm feeling a generalized existential dread, and partly I'm just annoyed with so many people around me. But my friend Julie (a crafty American who lives in Denmark) posted something on Facebook the other day which seemed like a perfect call to action.

So, in lieu of actual voodoo dolls and actual pins, I'm going to air my grievances, even though it's not the 23rd of December yet.

1) One of the people running for supervisor in my town posted a "oh how wonderful you are" comment on Facebook, that included "Kudos to you and the minions of special people who helped you." I restrained from public comment, but I did send her a private message:

you maybe didn't want to call [the] book fest helpers "minions" - it has a rather negative connotation:
nonn: minion
plural noun: minions
1. a follower or underling of a powerful person, esp. a servile or unimportant one.
synonyms: henchman, flunky, hanger-on, follower, servant, hireling, vassal, stooge, toady, sycophant

She had the courtesy to thank me for the correction. But does no one know what a minion is, because Despicable Me sowed confusion?

2) Tutoring comes up as an issue in our school system all the time. Sometimes it seems like every single kid in town has a tutor, just because their parents are Strivy McStriverpantsers. I totally understand that there are times when a kid needs to be tutored. But I got in the middle of a Facebook discussion (on a private local page) about tutoring / bad teacher / not enough tutors - where a teacher seems to be so bad that every kid in the class has a tutor. And I gently suggested to one of the school board members, who frequents that group, that she relay the conversation to the superintendent and the rest of the school board. Her response?

It is not a best practice for board members to report a conversations that happen on FB. It becomes here say. If there are issues with a teacher, the best course is to discuss it with a counselor at that particular school. If that does not provide an answer than please make an appointment to speak to the principals.

Multiple errors in her few sentences, but "here say"? That sent me over the edge. I made sure to work "hearsay" into the email I sent off to the superintendent, to which I had a thoroughly unsatisfactory response.

3) The almost ten year old has been learning about landforms in social studies - like archipelago and delta and isthmus and peninsula. And part of the work has been to describe the way in which a particular landform affects the people. But she keeps using "effect" when she should be using "affect". And maybe vice versa. And then I found that another of the teachers on the team (her math teacher, who teaches social studies to a different group) had used "effect" incorrectly in her posted homework:

"Social Studies: Finish first 3 landforms: archipelago, delta, plateau (name, picture, definition, and how it effects the people who live near that landform)"

I queried my Facebook friends, and they were about equally divided as to whether or not I should call the teacher on it. I decided against it, partly because technically the teacher who made the mistake isn't my kid's teacher for that subject. But the kid keeps making the same mistake, and got all defensive and said "my teacher didn't say anything" when I tried to talk it through with her. Now, maybe I'm just being a stickler, but this is annoying the hell out of me, so I did send the actual teacher an email today, putting all the onus on the kid and wondering whether fifth grade was just too young to finesse something as delicate as affect vs. effect.


What's annoying you? Air your grievances. It lets you let them go.



V-Grrrl said...

I am annoyed by a stack of boxes I need to go through, and my tendency to hang onto paper documents and magazines I should get rid of. I'm also annoyed that I'm already thinking about the holidays and feeling pressured...

S said...

Your grievances seem valid to me.

Someone I work for is unpleasant to most everyone around her, and I grow weary of her misbehavior.

Jody said...

Well, I was an original vote against contacting the teacher, and you completely won me over to the "take SOME sort of action" position here. And I won't air my particular grievances, because they are mostly about having just assumed a position on my Homeowner's Association Board and ALREADY feeling afflicted by the piddly little issues people care about, and blergh, I'm already devoting too much time and mental energy to the whole thing.

Your post title is brilliant, anyway. So there's that.

Jody said...

Well, I was an original vote against contacting the teacher, and you completely won me over to the "take SOME sort of action" position here. And I won't air my particular grievances, because they are mostly about having just assumed a position on my Homeowner's Association Board and ALREADY feeling afflicted by the piddly little issues people care about, and blergh, I'm already devoting too much time and mental energy to the whole thing.

Your post title is brilliant, anyway. So there's that.

Jody said...

ARGH. Now I will be peeved about stupid commenting glitches!


RuthWells said...

My grievances are legion. I will spare you. It I have to say, teachers fouling up basic grammar and spelling really makes my blood boil.

Jeanne said...

One of the things my parents hammered home to me very early is never to correct the teacher. Hard to overcome that early training, even though I'm out of teachers' clutches, for all (intensive purposes) intents and purposes!

Jennifer said...

My son is in his first year of middle school. I hate middle school. In elementary school, the parents were encouraged -- one could say harassed -- into deep involvement in their kids' schooling. In middle school the parents are ignored. I get that -- the kids are growing up, taking responsibility for themselves -- but, first, I would have liked a transition. And second, if you're going to ignore parents then *consistently* ignore them. Don't offer 10 minute parent-teacher conferences (no joke!); offer none. And eliminate that stupid web site. Dang. Does your school have this? They have this new web site where you can check the grade your kid got on every assignment, leaving out the following: what they got wrong & why; whether a 0 means no name, not turned in, or failed to understand the subject; whether "30" means 30% or 30 out of 30; the difference between a 0 and a "-"; and, most importantly, what the parent (or the kid, for that matter) can do when an assignment receives a bad grade. It would appear that my kid needs a tutor *to remind him to turn in his work* -- but then again, I can't really tell. Maybe he's not learning a darn thing... Incomplete information is much, much worse than no information.

That is my rant.

Thank you.

readersguide said...

Maybe it's the weather? There are lots of people I would gladly slice in half at the moment.

Maybe we're all ready to hibernate for a while?


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You have the right to expect proper grammar from your educational system; I might ask for a meeting with the principal and ask his/her advice on how to address this problem.

Bibliomama said...

Damn - I actually had the BEST week-end and am filled with love for all humanity at the moment. This fabulous opportunity, and me without any grievances.

That is a truly odd use of 'minions'. It's almost as if she meant it as a term of quantity rather than a noun. And here say? GAH.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. I think she meant it. or if she didn't know what it means, wow. She was on the train platform last week yelling at another candidate---on her same team!

MARY G said...

In addition to 'minion', a lot of people misuse 'decimate' incorrectly. Minor peeve. Major at the moment is that two volunteers I work with are feudung and each telling me all about the other one. I hate this kind of thing, and am always at a loss as to what to do about it.
Teachers with flawed English skills are a total menace. Sympathy!!!

MARY G said...

Aaarg. What I just wrote. Squirming!

Marcia said...

NPR commentators who say me and her. Also I just heard Someone on NPR say restauranteurs Where is Harvey ???
Love your musings. Hope the headaches never comes back!

Jocelyn said...

In this minute, what's truly annoying me is that I just typed out one of the longer comments I've ever left on a blog, and then, when I hit submit, Blogger told me it's having a problem and lost the whole damn thing.

Suffice it to say: I agree with every last thing you typed here, especially the part where my mind is full of how much people bug me.

leanne said...

All those mistakes would drive me batty.

As for me... I'm annoyed that my son's 4th grade teacher spent part of the day yesterday teaching the kids test-taking strategies, like how to stay calm. If you have to spend time teaching these things, there are too many tests. And wow, there are too many tests. Because then part of my son's homework last night was copying something akin to a "daily affirmation" about how he's smart and capable and BLECH. It just made me sad. And mad. (Oh, and I'm not opposed to all tests or boosting my child's self-esteem, but this just seems weird.)

Also, I don't like that so much of the school day is focused on math and reading. I understand that these subjects are important, but what about science (or social studies)? (though I'll be grateful that my kids still get art and music).

I'm annoyed about some other things, too, but these are the ones that are especially bugging me today.

Anonymous said...

I once named a dog Sae (pronounced say), just so I could go to the door and call her: "Here Sae!" I am either very easily entertained, or so difficult to entertain that I am forced to provide my own entertainment. The jury is still out. Most people annoy me. I suspect that I have isolated myself a bit beyond what a mental health expert would necessarily approve of - given that I've talked to not a single person all week. Hm. . . of course I exaggerate. It will not be a solid week for another 8 hours or so.

MDTaz said...

I love your precision about language. Thank you for it.

My rant: I have a very onerous amount of paperwork to collect in order to get a NIE, a special number for foreigners living in Spain. This number will permit me to do things like have my own internet (I have to borrow our neighbors for now) and sign up for Nespresso delivery. Two vital things. (ahem)

I need my bank to write a special letter speaking about my assets in euros rather than dollars. But my bank refuses to write a customized letter on my behalf. I also need a special letter from my health insurance provider, indicating the substantial coverage I have. Their "form" letter is not specific enough so I have written to them asking them to send me a version with only one additional line added. It is against their policy. I have been back and forth with them about this, but they refuse to write a letter other than the standard form letter.

If I treated my clients this way, I'd have none. It's maddening.

Thanks for letting me rant. Effective.