I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to the English Language.
When I was around six or seven years old, I’d take my older brother’s English books and solve comprehensions and grammar problems just for fun.
I also watched a ton of English cartoons and movies. I’d learn new words that most kids my age didn’t know. As soon as I heard a new word, I’d look it up in the dictionary –because we didn’t have Google back then.
Sufficed to say, I was quite good. I didn’t know the technical details of the language, like what a pronoun was or what it meant to split an infinitive, but I was good.
When I got to sixth or seventh grade, our English teacher, who was not a very pleasant person to begin with, told us that people “made the dishes” and “did their beds.”
Nothing has ever been more wrong. The incest on Game of Thrones is more acceptable than that grammar mistake. Donald Trump as president is more acceptable than that grammar mistake.
At the time, I politely told her it was the other way around: we “made our beds” and “did the dishes.”
She then laughed as if I’d just told her the funniest joke in the world and asked, “What do you mean? Do you mean you actually build a bed from scratch?”
Of course, she was an idiot. And she kicked me out of her class for disagreeing with her.
Later that day, I ran into the principal and told her about what happened. The principal looked at me, sighed and then said, “You’re right. But maybe you should just forget about it.”
Forget about it? Can you imagine how many students this idiot taught? Can you imagine how many people now think that they “do” their beds and “make” their dishes?
I went to a very good international school by Egyptian standards. If this is what they teach at good schools, what can we expect from inferior ones?
Fast forward to many years later, and now I realize that many (not all) schools are willing to hire any imbecile to work as an English teacher. I am no longer surprised by the string of horrible grammar I see around me on a regular basis.
My advice to you is this: rely on English books. Read, read, read and then read some more. Watch movies, cartoons or even skits on YouTube.
If you have young kids, get them to do the same. But for heaven’s sake, do NOT rely on our schools!
I don’t care how fancy the school looks, because mine looked fancy. I don’t care how expensive it is, because mine was expensive. Unless you teach at the school or know the teachers personally, you shouldn’t put your child’s language skills in their hands.
The academic system has failed us all, and we must take matters into our own hands from now on.