Groundhog Day

by Deanne Adams 2 years ago in teacher

A High School English Teacher's Monologue

Groundhog Day

Alright, settle down! Eyes front. Now. NOW. Ben, that chair has four legs: use them all. Don't you remember what happened to you last week?

Right, then. I’ve marked the stories you composed for me and I'm going to return them shortly. The good news is that lots of you created vivid descriptions and believable characters. I saw some original plot ideas too—some better than others. Apart from one which essentially told the story of Saw II. Or was it Saw III? Anyway...

That was the good news. The bad news is that not one of them made one iota of sense. Why is that, I hear you ask? Punctuation and paragraphing. Or, more precisely, lack thereof.

I've prepared an example to show you so let’s have a look at it… Ben…Ben… it’s this way. Not out the window. What do you mean, "not again"?

Yes, I’m aware we’ve looked at how punctuation is used before. Last week, yes. And last term. And the term before that. I know. I was there. Every. Single. Painful. Minute.

Why? Why do you think we're doing it again, Dylan? You’re still not using it. You're still writing strings of words with no punctuation separating them. No, not just you. I mean almost everyone in this class. I’m not picking on you, Dylan, I promise. I’ve got better things to do with my time.

So. Here's the example. On the board. The board, Ben. This way. The big white thing with writing on it. Thank you.

OK, so... Have a look at the board, everyone, and see if you can spot the general idea of what’s wrong with it. That doesn’t matter, Dylan. Whose work it’s from is irrelevant. Stop sniggering at Paul, turn around, look at the board and think. Engage your brain.

Hands up if you’ve worked it out…

Jade, yes, what do you think is wrong with it? Oh, for goodness' sake. You’ve just had break. You should have gone then. And you don’t mean, "Can I," you mean, "May I." If you can’t, then you should see a doctor as a matter of urgency. But we'll discuss modal verbs more thoroughly another time.

But seeing as I'm talking to you, Jade, can you suggest what is wrong with the example on the board?...

Sarah! What on earth...!? Stop screaming. Let me look... A spider? Where? Where is it? I bet it's tiny. There's absolutely no reason to make such a fuss over such a harmless little...

Oh my! Yes. Yes, that is quite large. Um. And it crawled on your leg. Yes, alright, I can see why you jumped. Um. Who here likes spiders and would take the little chap outside for us? It's just that little bit big for me to handle.

Dylan, thank you. You do have your uses. … That came out wrong, Dylan. I meant... I meant thank you for helping. Don't be long now, will you?

Phew. Right, then. This example. What's wrong with it is that the sentences have been run together with no punctuation, or sometimes they've been separated using only a comma. But what should we use...

...Come on in quietly then, Dylan...

Um.... what should we use to separate sentences? A comma isn't enough so what should we use?

Anyone? Anyone at all?

Ah. Alright, everyone, leave your things where they are and head to the fire assembly point. Ben, don't run! You're fifteen—you know how to do this. No, Jade, I don't know if it's just a drill. But let's leave quickly.

"Hooray," Dylan?

… I quite agree.

Deanne Adams
Deanne Adams
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Deanne Adams

I love stories. Stories which make me laugh, cry, wince or get angry. Stories which make me care. Most of all, I love helping others tell stories that captivate. Reach me at or

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