Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor

Subject: Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor
From: Samuel -dot- Beard -at- tdcj -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 11:37:29 -0500

Hey Everyone,

Yes, I can relate to this problem of being taught good grammar versus
being "taught" literature in high school (or otherwise!). The last GOOD
English teacher I had was in 9th grade. This teacher would DEFINITELY be
classified by Dick as an "old battle-axe" of a woman, but I very much
respected her and her teachings. We were writing one-page term papers by
the end of 9th grade. Then, I moved to Ohio, to a MUCH smaller school, and
had a "teacher" who's idea of teaching English was simply reading from the
literature books we had, one by one going down one row of students and up
another, and then simply repeating what her teacher's book said about said
story/poem. Never any real discussion of the work and/or its merits or lack
thereof. My 11th grade teacher was very easy to distract: simply mention
the football/basketball/baseball/whatever game of that week and off he'd go
on a tangent. Unfortunately, I had the same "teacher" in 12th grade as in
10th, with the same results. Keep in mind that all three of these classes
were SUPPOSED to be college-preperatory classes. In 12th grade, some of the
other students asked the guidance counselor about changing classes and were
told that there really wasn't any other class available that was a
college-prep class. When they pointed out to him that we weren't learning
anything about writing papers or essays, he suggested we ask the "teacher"
if she was going to teach us that skill. When asked, she said that she
hadn't thought about it, but she supposed that she could do that. Her idea
of doing so was to simply list the subjects (all literature books, so
essentially, it was a book report) from which we could choose, list the
items required (i.e., a bibliography, a number of pages, etc.), and say "Go
do it!" This turned out to be the last six weeks of our Senior year,
arguably the busiest times of our high school careers.
So, in summary, the last time I had a good English teacher was 9th
grade, the last time I wrote a paper in high school was in 9th grade, the
same "teacher" for 10th and 12th grades was so concentrated on literature
and ONLY on what her teacher's book said as to be totally useless, and the
11th grade teacher loved sports! That's about it!!


Samuel I. Beard, Jr.
Technical Writer, Human Resources
Texas Department of Criminal Justice


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