Archive | August, 2015

“IF I WAS YOU… OR “IF I WERE YOU…”: AN EXTRACT FROM A FACEBOOK LITERARY CLASS

19 Aug

That’s the powerful woman standing right there…the lone rose among the thorns

After a heated debate with a colleague about the correct grammatical form of a statement, I took to social media to consult an exceptional education administrator, editor extra-ordinaire, prolific writer, communication and linguistic specialist. I quickly made this post and tagged her in it:

“I need to consult my editor extra-ordinaire, linguistic and communication specialist Alcia Morgan on this one…which is correct:
“If I were you…? or “If I was you…?”
Talk to me please so I can stand corrected and go apologize or say “I knew it”

She did not respond right away . All this time my mind was commenting and chastising itself in a most realistic way. It had conversations like: “Really Alcia, is where you hiding tonight?” Or, “Come man Alcia, I need my confirmation.” The logical mind didn’t miss a beat as it chastised the impatient me “Calm down. The woman have a life” or “She will respond in her own time. Go and find something to do”. I found myself laughing out loud at this internal dialogue. Talk about getting mad. Ah boy. Anyway, back to the story.

Despite my gross impatience, I was not concerned whether she would respond or not, because she just simply cannot resist the urge to share her expertise. It’s an impossible task for her. The wait for me was forever because I was twitching to get her response. However, I was not prepared for the detailed, informative, and profound elucidated response I got. Here it is:

Dorraine Reid, only you could draw me out of hibernation like this. Technically, both are correct from a descriptive linguistic perspective as both express a conditionality; You will never hear a prescriptive grammarian using “if I was’ though. Bear in mind that the prescriptivist (the ones who write the grammar books) SAYS what is correct; the descriptivist express what actually happens. The former “if I were you” expresses a situation that is possible but not real; a hypothetical situation that is contrary to the real situation and thus the use of the subjunctive. “If I was” on the other hand, is indicative and can be replaced with “whenever”. To conclude, the phrase, “if i were you” is the correct use from the “standard” English perspective. In essence, “If I were you, I’d apologize if i have to”.

This response had many facebook-ers quickly clicking away on the like button and sparked a vibrant conversation. It felt good to have been a part of it. As the discussion progressed, it further reinforced the notion that, social media is what we make it. This Educator extra-ordinaire who wears so many hats, uses her facebook page to inspire, motivate, encourage, teach. As we lamented about her brilliance, and I expressed a desire for more persons to read her response to the question, she responded with this:

Seems my page draws a lot of attention….both for those who visit it to see what literary work I’m up to, those who want a motivational moment, to have a laugh or to learn ” the word of the day” and those who just want “grist for their mills”

This is such a factual statement because I am one of them. I live for her facebook posts (and I’m sure I’m not alone) because each one I consume, I walk away with another word added to my vocabulary. It is indeed a literary class on her facebook page.

If I were you, I would get to know her…visit her page or ask Mr Google.

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CSEC WAKE-UP CALL

14 Aug
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The voice behind the wake-up call…sharing in her honours moment. Yes, she is teacher’s pet

At about 5:00 a.m I heard my phone going off alerting me I was receiving whatsapp messages. I ignored it because I was just falling back into my slumber after being awake from after 3:00 a.m. Clearly this person needed to get to me because the call came in at 6:15 a.m. By then I had fallen asleep, but the light sleeper I am couldn’t sleep through the ring. I cursed under my breath. Through groggy eyes and an almost disoriented head, I grabbed the phone which demonstrated my intense anger. I was ready to explode on the person on the other end of the line. But I was beaten to it. No sooner than I opened the line I was greeted with a high pitched, screaming voice thrilled with excitement:

“Miss Reiddddddd!!!!! Miss, miss, I passed them. All eight of them.”

I opened my mouth to speak but closed it as she rattled on excitedly:

Miss, I got six grade ones. Four of them are straight A profiles. Guess which subject is included in the four?

She did not wait for me to answer. She blurted “YOURS” and screamed with delight. Her excitement was contagious. I was completely disarmed and was grinning from ear to ear.

Miss just one little little disappointment though. I got one grade two and a grade three in French. I didn’t want any three.
I spoke for the first time:

Congratulations baby girl. You did an excellent job. By the way, your grade three is a pass. In the mix of things it is almost negligible. What’s done is already done. Besides, you have eight subjects. If you had got a grade four instead of three, you would have passed only seven.   Celebrate your achievement and look towards the road ahead.  Time for tertiary.”

Miss I’m so excited. I’m going by school to stamp my papers and take them to UTECH today. Miss come school today nuh. Mi want see you when me reach” (UTECH reads: University of Technology)

I laughed loudly and she joined me. I gave her the disappointing no.

She was so excited, she was oblivious to the fact that she woke me from my slumber.  But at this point, it did not matter. What mattered was the fact that she passed all her CSEC subjects and will matriculate to higher studies. Who wouldn’t be excited?  As I listened to her talk, and I analysed the scenario, I thought to myself: ‘this girl is going to go places.  I then ended the conversation with the words:

Okay my dear and congratulations again“.

With laughter in her voice she said “Thank you Miss“.  Her ‘thank you’ was filled with love and affection.

Talk about emotional. I returned her sentiments and disconnected the call. Smiling, I rolled over and willed myself back to sleep but I couldn’t. The moment kept playing in my mind. I reached for the phone and checked the whatsapp messages she sent. They were all voice notes willing me to wake up so she could share her good news with me. I smiled a new.

She was not afraid to wake me up. Why? Because I made it easy for her. I was interested in her well-being; she worked hard, was rewarded for it, and next to her parents, she wanted me to be one of the first persons to share that with. How can I not be touched by this? My Teacher’s Pet. https://educatorrainereidinspires.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/teachers-pet/ This girl graduated high school earning diploma with honours, now she ACED her CSEC examinations. Look out world she is coming.

For the hundredth time I realized that these are the moments that makes being a teacher counts.