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I can see for miles and miles from up here on this horse

Posted by on August 26, 2005

The longer I work with educators, the more I realize why Americans are making stupidized with the English languagings.

I keep being handed documents to type which make my English-lit-studyin’ heart want to break. These educators do the most awful things to words. They add an “s” to a verb to make it a noun–i.e. “learnings,” which I guess is just as logical as “findings” but still makes my ears cringe–or they add “ize” to nouns and adjectives to make them sound more officialized. (This is a trend Michele and I have been tracking in the media as well–we first heard “weaponized” on an episode of Alias, but the word has spread as far as the new Batman film and beyond.)

Plus, these educators capitalize pretty much at random, as if they’re writing copy for a Medieval Times dinner theater program. Principals, Office Managers, the Main Office, Deans, the Executive Assistant (that’s me!), even School. Pretty much the only thing struggling along in lower case now is the poor little students.

Now, I can put up with weird word usage and poor capitalizing skills–hell, to correctly usize the English is downright un-American. But the prose, baby, the miserable prose, which spends the day getting pantsed and wedgied by educators who ought to be more mature than that. Let me give you just a few examples from a document I recently typed up, entitled “Teacher Leaders,” a title which ought to be making your brain ache all by itself.

Leadership is every teacher’s responsibility but not at every moment. Because leadership does bring with it some tensions, some will find it more inviting in a variety of situations and over a longer period of time.

Poorly phrased? Yep. But is the underlying idea a good one? Who the hell can tell? Things get vaguer further on:

The connection between teacher leadership and principal leadership through mutual leadership, shared sense of purpose and encouragement of individual variations and differences.

This is a quote from a book written by four people. I can only assume they were dividing the responsibility for each individual sentence between them, and the guy who was supposed to write the verb was sick that day. As well as the guy who was supposed to make any sense at all.

I’ve complained to some of my educator colleagues, who claim they need these words and phrases to bolster their professional jargon. Oh, teachers, I urge you: use the good old-fashioned English for your jargon, and abandon all this non-speak and triple-talk. There can be no question that using proper sentence construction and words that actually exist will be as incomprehensible to non-educators as your current educatizing slangs. After all, you and your ilk have been running the public schools for several decades, and have so intolerably fucked up the general public, linguistically speaking, that their understanding of English is nearly as eroded as your own.

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