Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pigs, Math, and Shared Rides

(From "Loonville" series. Tweaked and recycled.)From my new residence, it was a twelve-mile drive to my place of employment. After a year in the elementary school, I transferred to the junior high to teach mathematics. Marie's classroom was across the hall from mine. She taught English to the seventh and eighth graders who were our charges. This lady was the same age as my mother. We worked together for five years until I left the community, and she still had several good years before her retirement.

We soon figured out that a good bit of gas (read: money) could be saved if we were to share rides to work, as we lived only three miles apart, and we were both a dozen miles from school. Thus, we alternated weeks, stopping by one another's house to pick up and drop off the passenger.

The farm of Jim Griggs was located along our route to school. The pigster had posted a large, yet tastefully done, sign at the entry to his property.

-------------Griggs' Pigs------------

----------Hampshire----- Poland China---------
Marie, in her typically pedantic manner, was offended by the sign, for she claimed the apostrophe usage was incorrect, and the sign should read "Griggs's Pigs." I allowed that that would destroy both the rhyme and the lilt, and should therefore read "Griggs's Pigses." Marie was not amused.

There was a saying amongst school people at the time that "every teacher should be an English teacher." But not all English teachers are so willing to share the responsibility. I had occasion, created an occasion, once in a seventh grade math class to assert that "ain't" was a valid word in the language, and that it could be correctly used. "Ain't I" is a contraction for the phrase "am I not" and may be used in a construction as follows: "I am going to town with you, ain't I?" This was reported by my students to the English teacher, who in turn sent a message back to me, telling the kids to tell me that she "will teach English, and Mr. Lacy should stick to arithmetic."
© 2010 David W. Lacy


John Cowart said...

Ain't that a shame!

Shelly said...

I'm still laughing! And speaking for my fellow English teachers, we do need to lighten up from time to time.

Jim said...

I chuckled over this one just as much the second time around.

Secondary Roads said...

I would call that a completely predictable reaction.

vanilla said...

John, I may have to call you on the grammar!

Shelly, we teachers should perhaps take ourselves less seriously sometimes, even as we take the needs of our students seriously indeed.

Jim, I'm sure I repeat myself from time to time, but it is still funny.

Chuck, predictability is a funny thing, isn't it?

Lin said...

Hahaha! Sheesh. Lighten up, lady! :P

vanilla said...

Lin, not a lack of humor so much as typical last-century schoolmarm.

Sharkbytes said...

I think it was my math teacher who told us that ain't is in the dictionary!

The English teacher was fooling around with.... (well, that wasn't in the paper)

vanilla said...

Shark, what is it about math teachers that drives them to do such things?

Some things don't need to be in the paper: everyone knows anyway.