The brief mention of high school English in my last post got me thinking about my school experience versus that of my pampered kids (well, the 12 and 15 year olds anyway). When I tell them I had to hand-write everything, (in my case with a good fountain pen), I might as well be speaking of quills and ink jars. I'm not even that old, being born in the 60's. We actually had a type-writer in our house, but somehow that was seen as cheating. Don't ask me why, but I expect those nuns thought hand cramps from hours of writing in painstaking cursive got you time off in purgatory. Hand-written wasn't the only requirement- it had to be legible otherwise they would scrawl "Illegible" across the page, and hand it back with much pomp and public ceremony. (I'm now reminded of that other comment "Irrelevant waffle" which graced my pages from time to time.)
And if I didn't write the assignment down correctly? Well, we did have phones and since we all had so much bloody homework, there was a good chance of catching a classmate at home. None of this larking about with extra-curricular acticvities. A successful phone call however, depended on the line being free. No second line, voice mail or cell phones then. Not even a home fax you could resort to. You'd just be faced with hours and hours of that irritating busy signal which indicated someone's mother yakking to friends.
These days my kids have a dizzying array of options for dealing with such an emergency:
- phoning friends on one of many phones; cell phone, land-line or parents' cell phones.
- e-mailing someone (for some reason the least attractive option since they would have to - gasp- wait a few seconds for an answer)
- IM; 'cause we know they're all instant messaging when they're supposed to be doing their homework
- contacting the teacher. In my day this would be tantamount to poking a snake with a stick, and even now causes me mild palpitations, but apparently it's cool. (I think that is a lame word, but I don't have anything else up my sleeve. Dope, perhaps?) I feel sorry for the teachers, although on reflection, more fool them for giving out their numbers.
- go to the school's web site or, in my kids' case, the school's homework web site. Their teachers post homework assignments (with due dates) every day so there is absolutely NO excuse for anything, ever, end of story.
Forget your homework? - no problem for my cherubs. They can e-mail their homework straight to the teacher, thus circumventing forgetfulness and "printer problems' which are the 21st century homework-eating dogs. And if their e-mail is down for some reason, they carry these little flash drives around their necks, which magically suck up their Word documents and make them reappear on the school's system, all ready to print out.
The one down side to all this technology is that their grades are e-mailed to me, as are missing assignments, bunking off episodes and any other shenanigans. Makes me wonder whether they'd have been better off in my day. At least we weren't busted all the time!