Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Embarking on two journeys today.

The first journey I previously wrote about: I'm back in school! Well...sort of. I have a hard time after spending years and years in school, getting my degree, and then going back to school to get my certification, deeming an online class as "going back to school." I'm not saying online classes aren't real or have any less value than a classroom course, but I just feel it may be more lax since we have a week to work on assignments, so really, how hard can it be.

Well, that's until I finally got to look at the syllabus for the class, which is NINETEEN PAGES LONG.

When I was taking classes at San Jose State University, the longest syllabus I had was maybe, maybe 5 pages long. Maybe. Ah heck, I don't remember. I just remember never getting a syllabus and feeling like, OHMYGOSH, WHATHAVEIDONE. I do remember feeling particularly sad that I had to recite pieces from each Shakespeare play we were reading in my Shakespeare class, and not only that, but the teacher expected us to be theatrical about it. Last time I checked, I was an English major, not a drama major, but I got through it, as I do with most things.

The first and last of the 12-bulleted course objectives are the ones I'm most excited about because they are why I wanted to take the course:

1st: Describe the function of any word, phrase, or clause in a grammatical sentence, using the names of the eight parts of speech and other nomenclature from classical grammar. (Example: "This is a propositional phrase functioning as an adverb.")

12th: Clearly explain to another person your reasons, based on grammar, mechanics, and usage, for making changes in the categories above.

I can describe many things, however, I don't know if I'm always correct, and lately I tend to just call things a thingamajig that does that to this, and well, that's not going to cut it. Grammar terminology is a lot of memorization, and with most things, if you don't use it all the time, you're going to forget the terms. And since I've been deemed the "Grammar Geek" at work, people just tend to go with my edits and don't question me (more so because they don't really care what happens to their writing, they just need it edited and sent out - banking is not an industry of writers), but if I'm going to have such title, I feel I should live up to it.

I feel to be a good editor, you must be able to give your reasons for any and all changes to some one's writing. Even if they don't get it or don't care. And the only way to do that is by becoming the type of person who can say: "This is a propositional phrase functioning as an adverb." A Smarty McFarty, if you will.

The second journey - My husband and I are finally volunteering! Granted it's through work and we're getting paid, but still! We've talked about doing this year after year after year, and even tried to do something one Thanksgiving but the place said they didn't need us.

Then Mateo came along, and time was short, etc. etc. etc., so we're finally do it today. For a few hours we shall be slinging food around at a food bank and doing anything and everything, and while it'll be hard work, it'll most definitely be rewarding work.

I just hope I don't sweat myself to death since just walking down the street makes me sweat....


Kmommy said...

Holy cow! 19 pages?? Yikes! Same here, about the longest syllabus I got was about 5 pages... But actually the ones I wrote for the 2 classes I'm teaching are about 13/14 pages... the dean wants everything spelled out for the students, so its a bunch of policies and stuff...

Goldfish said...

Oh, man, I'm a total grammar nut, too! I was a mean copy editor in my day.... Now I find at least one error in my post, every single day. I'm chalking it up to the fact that my brain has melted after having three children. In any case, it's good to find a fellow grammar geek!