Atheist Scruples: it’s back to school time again

This question is apropos:

Your child is doing poorly in one subject which is bringing down his average. You’ve tried coaching but his learning is slow. Do you do the homework until he improves?

How would that help him learn? I’m not going to conjugate his French verbs for him. Been there, fuck that. It’s bad enough I had to do my own in school. My mother’s French but I don’t recall getting a lot of help out of her to get through it. I also don’t think I asked for any, really. By the time I was in high school French, Mom had been speaking non-stop English for twenty-some years and only spoke French if she phoned home or we went to New Brunswick.

She did get me a copy of 501 French Verbs at some point, but I think that was for university. Grade 12 is when I really could have used it. Man.. I swear. Fifteen verb tenses over five weeks or some damned thing. We’re getting quizzes often and after weeks of low scores on them my teacher pulls me aside and says in English, “It looks like you’re having trouble with French verbs.” Wow. Chapeau. Hat’s off to Larry, lady. Thanks for finally noticing… I scraped by in the final, but I don’t remember by how much.

Neither of my parents got far into school. I think Dad finished Grade 9 but didn’t go much further and Mom might have quit before that on account of needing to care for her siblings or work or whatever. (I really ought to get both of them to dictate their life stories. I don’t know enough.) I have a sociology degree with a minor in philosophy and a year of elementary education thrown into the mix.

The Man skipped the university route, opting to work those years instead, but is now putting his RESPs into an art program. He’s a few classes away from completion. He’s no slouch in the brain department either. His parents are teachers by trade. There was no getting away from getting good marks in that house.

His ex and mother of the Little Man got a youth care certificate of some sort. I don’t know if she tried any university courses prior to that. I’m thinking no.

Collectively we should be able to instill in the Little Man a sense of how important it is to work hard in school and do his best to understand and use what he’s learning. He’s in French immersion. The Man and I are very rusty with French and Ex has none to speak of so we’ll all learn with him as he starts Grade 1. Especially once we have to decipher his school assignments and make sure he’s doing them correctly. “Ah non, ce n’est pas correct, mon petit garçon… Ah oui! Très bien!”

I think a related Scruples 2014 question would probably run along the lines of this:

You’re struggling to keep up with the class assignments and a friend suggests you buy relevant essays online or copy text from a website to paraphrase and make your own. Your friend admits to doing both regularly. Do you follow her lead?

I got a kick (wallop, stimulation, refreshment) out of a recent Guardian piece (section, specimen) on the funnier side of plagiarism recently, namely the habit some students have of replacing original text with whatever a thesaurus may suggest as an alternative. It’s called Rogeting, after the famous thesaurus compiler.

To “stay ahead of the competition” became the quaint “to tarry fore of the conflict”, while “new market leaders” was turned into “modern store guides”.

Sadler’s favourite Rogetism, however, is a rendering of the phrase “left behind”, which was marvellously converted into “sinister buttocks”.

“This was a sad business for me and especially [for] my student, but I do think ‘sinister buttocks’ deserves a prize,” said Mr Sadler, who entered the student mistake for this year’s Times Higher Education exam howlers.

I can find articles about this year’s short list for the competition, but nothing about who won it yet. Sorry.

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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