Now I’ve always believed in giving others the benefit of the doubt. So being forever hopeful and knowing it was, after all, only day three of thirty-two I gave Mr C the benefit of the doubt and kept my fingers crossed that things would improve. I had done evening classes before, and found them to be far more structured. Normally, in the first lesson you would learn what would happen in future classes. I had studied Art, Art history and researching Family History all via evening classes.
Day 3 of being a Mature Student
After last week, I was feeling a bit apprehensive. I so wanted this course to deliver the goods to help me improve my writing. I arrived to find the classroom door open. On entering, I found two of the students sitting chatting, Motorbike Dave, without his female companion this time, and another student, Ms Giggles.
Ms Giggles told us, she was really enjoying the maths course so much more than the English one. “I’m learning far more about maths than I ever did in school. The maths teacher is very good.”
Then Ms Bright Smile arrived and asked where Mr C was?
“We have no idea,” Ms Giggles said.
When Mr C arrived he walked in eating a bounty bar and told us. “It’s my dinner.” As we waited for the rest of the class, he chatted on, telling us how his sister had come to visit him, and he’d left her doing his ironing.
Once the class had arrived, Mr C clapped his hands together and announced, “We have an exciting evening before us.”
I offered a prayer up to any god, who happened to be listening.
Mr C then handed out sheets of paper to the class. On receiving mine, I noticed it was ‘What is grammar? And Ann is in her car.’
Ms Giggles shouted out, “We’ve done this last week.”
“Oh, have we.” Mr C said, in surprise, and started to hand out another sheet from the pile on his desk.
“Sentences,” Mr C said, “on this sheet you can see three boxes, first box is the subject, second box is verb, and the third is the complement i.e. 1) Brighton Palace Pier 2) is 3) A great adventure.
I was puzzled. We’d learnt a sentence has within it a subject, verb, and object, last week. Now he told us the sentence had a complement. We all sat there confused.
(Since coming home, I looked the word ‘complement’ up and found in grammar it means: a word or phrase added to a verb to complete the predicate of a sentence.)
Next, he handed us a page from George Eliot’s ‘The mill on the Floss.’
“Now if you would all like to read the first sentence at the beginning of chapter six,” Mr C said.
‘Poor Tom bore his severe pain heroically, and was resolute in not ‘telling of Mr Poulter more than was unavoidable; the five-shilling piece remained a secret even to Maggie.’
For those of you who do not know George Eliot was a woman, and as you can see her sentence is both long and boring,” Mr C informed us.
I put my hand up and said, “Wasn’t she writing in the style of her time.”
“Yes, she was,” he said, peering over the top of his glasses. “Right now, we will look at this one.” He handed out another sheet. “This had very short sentences.”
‘One more headache/one more headache drink/ one more lounge. The Moon Room at the Stardust-low lights and moon maids in tights. Pete sipped scotch. A moon maid fed him peanuts.’
“James Elroy wrote this and as you can see he doesn’t use adverbs,” Mr C informed the class. “If you look at the sentence. ‘Wayne Junior said no.’ We have a subject, ‘Wayne Junior,’ we have a verb ‘Said’ and a complement ‘No.’ Now if you all look at the next sheet ‘Complement.’ The complement comes after the verb. It tells us more about the subject. One way of checking whether this is right, is to try the following:
1) Find the verb.
2) Cross it out and replace with an equals sign.
3) If the sentence still has the same meaning, then the part after the verb is the complement.
Example: That TV programme was the best last year.
That TV programme = the best last year.
However, if it doesn’t work, you will know you are wrong i.e. my grandfather keeps a pig.
My grandfather = a pig.
The commonest linking verbs are am/is/are, was /were, has been/have been.
“Right, is anyone asleep yet?” Mr C said, brightly. “No, good now I would like you to write out a few sentences using the notes on the building sentences sheet.”
We all worked away quietly. After a short while Mr C came round and marked our work.
I passed with flying colours.
Mr C then announced it was time for a break and the classroom emptied quicker than it filled at the beginning of the lesson. Before Mr C had time to leave, I asked him if he could have a quick look at my writing. I showed him the piece; I had posted on my blog. ‘The small, uninteresting house stood back from the road etc…’ and asked him to read just the first paragraph. Mr C smiled and told me he was a failed writer and he wrote thriller and espionage novels. When he finished reading through the first page he went on to the second. I said “thank you for helping me, but you’ll miss your break if you carry on.”
“It’s very good, but you need help with your grammar,” he said looking up.
I smiled and said, “Yes, I know that’s why I’m here.”
“Once I’ve given the rest of the class some work to do I’ll finish looking at it. Next week, I’ll have someone to help me in the class as I can’t get to see everyone.”
After the smoke break, Mr C set some of the students to work on the computers on a BBC website, Skills wise.
He came and finished looking at my scribbling, marking where I needed to make some changes and explained what I needed to do. “You need to use semicolon more in your work; I will be explaining how to use them in week 5…”
Yes, fantastic! I wanted to scream aloud. At last this is what I wanted to hear; what we were going to be doing in future classes. It was a great evening, and I almost danced out of the classroom as I felt I had learnt something. I was on cloud nine when I met my husband outside.
Now I can’t wait until next week.
Oh, to have such faith… One can, but hope😉 Hmm, wait for the tumble.
Now after a busy weekend in my garden, I’m off for a walk. Chat more later. Have a great day, everyone.