Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ok, so we've beaten this to death...

We've beaten it to death so many times.  They can't read.  They can't even think about what they've read.  There are a variety of reasons.  Either they never learned because nobody taught them.  Or they don't want to.  Or it's afluenza, or oppositional-defiance "disorder." Or it may be something legit like dyslexia (which my disdain is not intended to be projected toward).

I have to share today's conversation with you, in which I had a bizarre discussion with a young-feller (whom I shall casually refer to as Beevis).  I created the above flier and posted it around town because private tutoring jobs are few and far between during summer.

*phone ringing*

ME:  Hello.

BEEVIS:  Uh, hi.  I seen your ad posted in the restaurant and was wondering if you were still doing that?

ME:  Yeah, I still do odd-jobs.  What did you have in mind?

BEEVIS:  Uh-huh.  Like, I saw how you're hiring people to do odd jobs and I'm calling about your help-wanted poster.

ME:  It's not a help-wanted flier.

BEEVIS:  huh?

ME:  It's not a help-wanted flier.

BEEVIS:  Oh, so like, what is it then?

ME:  *click*

So, there you have it.  They can understand a simple ad for the next iPhone, but not an odd-jobs poster.

Unknown sender


  1. I wish you were near Chicago. I totally need someone to help me clean up the back yard.

  2. And what a bargain! I could keep you busy all summer long. Though I imagine if you lived in my state you would charge twice as much.

  3. I need you to get my students to study. Drop me an email.

    1. Well, it's certainly an odd job.

      Anybody need some windmills tilted at?

  4. Hypotheses:

    --People see what they want/expect to see. The kid was looking for a job, so he saw it as a help wanted ad. (This is admittedly an extreme case given the brevity and clarity of the text, but it's a major problem with reading comprehension these days; students do tend to say that texts say what they think they should say, not what they actually say.)

    --The kid doesn't really want a job, and understood the flier perfectly well, but mom/dad is on his case (and possibly standing right behind him), and calling you allowed him to say "see! I tried!" with the hope of being allowed to play video games in peace for another day or two before the subject comes up again.

    I do my own community garden plot work, but learned recently from a plot neighbor that some of the gardeners in our community garden hire help to plant and tend their plots. Huh? Only in the sort of extremely overpriced, overprivileged community in which I live (well, I actually live a way away, because I can't afford to live near the garden plot, which is located in the community where I grew up and still go to church) would this sort of thing take place. The kicker: just after learning this, I drove by the local high school, which was just letting out, on the way home, and found myself behind a kid driving a jaguar convertible. I have to admit he was a careful and polite driver (perhaps he'd better be, driving that car), but it does say something about the growing disparity in wealth (and I'm lucky enough to have a salary that would make me comfortably middle class in most places, and is still basically sufficient in my area. A lot of my colleagues, and my students, and their families, are living much, much closer to the edge, if not already over it).


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