I taught eighth grade English for two years. As you might guess, I did a lot of lessons on grammar and vocabulary.
I periodically wonder if any of it stuck and if there’s anything you remember from lessons at that age. I mean, all I remember about my eighth grade English teacher is that she drooled on my paper while leaning over me one day and that she left the spelling words on the chalkboard during a spelling test.
Then I get a note like this:
AHAHAHA, I don’t know why, but I just remembered how you would always drill it into our brains that ‘A LOT’ was actually two words and not one. I carried that with me through my entire academic carrier.
The idea for this lesson had a simple origin—I was fed up with these two words showing up incorrectly in assignments.
I dealt with the situation by asking all 38 students to lean in toward me and listen closely. Then I whispered, “A lot is . . . ” and I asked them to lean closer. Then I let loose with “NEVER, EVER, EVER” in my loudest voice with arms waving and body jumping around before settling down to calmly state, “one word.” I asked them to lean in again and repeated the spectacle.
Funny thing is, that lesson is one a lot of the kids remember. I mean, I’ll be walking down the street and someone will yell from across the crosswalk, “A lot is NEVER, EVER, EVER one word.”
It makes me smile every time and then I remember the next day, when one kid came in and declared, “My grandmother, the smartest woman I know, says you’re wrong.” But, I’ll save that story for another day.
(Oh, and today, we’ll chalk the misspelling of “career” up to someone else’s lesson).