Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Lies Teachers Tell

I was recently shocked to discover that my elementary school teachers had been lying to me all through my early, impressionable years.  It is a wonder that after all those years of deception and deceit that I turned out as normal and mentally balanced as I did.  I think the campaign of disinformation started when I was in second grade.  I had a crush on my second grade teacher, Miss Schubert.  At least that's what I think her name was.  It has been several decades since I was in second grade.  Anyway, she was the first teacher to start the terrible fabrication that was perpetuated throughout my school years, and would plague me throughout my adult life.  I don't know why teachers feel it is necessary to mislead their students with such grievous and intentional falsehoods, but it is truly an injustice to all of the students who have had to endure such subterfuge.  I'm talking about the despicable theory of "I before E, except after C".

As a writer, there are few things that can make me feel more like an idiot than seeing my words underlined by spell check because I placed an I before an E.  Let's face it.  If there is any rule in the English language that is wrong, it's this one.  Yeah, there are plenty of words that follow this rule, such as; species, science, believe, and friend.  But, for as many words that fit in with the rule, there are plenty that do not follow this deceitful atrocity, such as; seize, weird, vein, foreign, leisure, heinous, neighbor, reign, feign, and surveillance, just to name a few.

To make matters worse, this practice of distorting the truth to helpless students who know no better has gone on for centuries.  This little mnemonic can be found as early as 1866 from a book called Manual of English Spelling.  This obviously has been a longstanding conspiracy with school teachers, handed down from generation to generation.  You have no idea how heartbreaking it is to learn that my first love, Miss Whatever-Her-Name-Is, had lied to me so many years ago.  It makes me wonder what other aspersions I was told by my teachers. 

I'd bring up the one about how teachers tell their students that they will use Calculus in their lives every day, but I think that piece of dishonesty speaks for itself.

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