I had one of these moments today when you don't know whether to be insufferably smug or deeply despairing. I settled for a bit of both and a curmudgeonly blog post. The occasion of this dilemma was a text from one of my former pupils, currently on placement in a school - not in Argyll - whose name is distinguished by having in it 2 ws, 2 ls and two os. You know who you are ...
Anyway, my FP was in heated debate with some English teachers who don't know their subjects from their objects and were about to mark as an error a sentence in a pupil's essay which read something like "Come to the park with Rachel and me." They apparently agreed it should be "Rachel and I". My FP, undaunted but requiring support, texted for confirmation that he was correct in shrieking at them that the pupil was correct. In a subsequent phone conversation, he reported that he had repeated my rule of thumb about removing the other person in the sentence - a rule devised for those for whom grammar is a mystery, and one which works a treat every time. He was recalling this from at least S2, if not S1, for that was when I'd spend at least a period on testing and teaching this point. I used to tell the pupils that they could have fun spotting all the people who habitually got it wrong - including, I would say, those who should know better.
And I would argue that English teachers fall into that category. Not only should they know this simple rule of thumb; they should know the grammar behind it. Dammit, if English teachers don't know about subjects and objects, and have at least a passing acquaintance with verbs and prepositions, what are they doing in the job? We may never have to teach parsing and analysis to a class of 10 year olds (for I was 10 when I reached my peak) but if we don't know what underpins our language then I believe we're failing our pupils and the next generation will have to rely on foreign linguists to make up the deficiencies.
Apparently his temporary colleagues were not well pleased to be told off by a student. He tells me they went off to look up a book in the hope of somehow proving him wrong. Good. They may yet have learned something.