A little progress is still progress, right?

About 15 years ago while living in Mississippi, I tutored for an afterschool program. Though our focus was homework completion with academic enrichment, this math teacher also concentrated on helping students develop better communication skills by encouraging the use of proper English.

You see, Southerners love us some prepositions.

Dogs lie up under porches, children run on over to the neighbor’s house, and folks live right down over yonder.

Regardless, I tried my best to model and teach the use of proper English.

One of my students was Anthony who as a seventh grader had demonstrated a particular talent for the trumpet. Every day immediately after completing his work, he would practice his music while sitting in the office that opened into our classroom.

One day, while playing his usual trumpet exercises, a fellow student decided she wanted to join Anthony and asked, “Can I go off up in there?”

Before I could offer any correction in regard to her prepositional plethora other than to suggest the use of proper English, another classmate, eyes rolling and head shaking, chided her in loud exasperation, “Guuurl, don’t. you. know. nothin’??? It’s MAY I go off up in there!”



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About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

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