Seeing Red About…

not seeing red. Apparently there is another excuse I can employee vis á vis the origins of my twisted sisterness. I am a smidge off plumb not only because of my parents, but because of my BASTARDly teachers and their development impairing, ‘feelings-of-inadequacy’ inducing corrections in RED INK.

“My generation was brought up on right or wrong with no in between, and red was always in your face,” Kazmark said. “It’s abrasive to me. Purple is just a little bit more gentle. Part of my job is to be attuned to what kids respond to, and red is not one of those colors.”
Three top pen and marker manufacturers – Bic, Pilot Pen and Sanford, which produces Papermate and Sharpie – are making more purple pens in response to rising sales. School leaders and teachers are largely driving that demand, company representatives say.
“They’re trying to be positive and reinforcing rather than being harsh,” said Robert Silberman, Pilot Pen’s vice president of marketing. “Teachers are taking that to heart.”
The disillusionment with red is part of broader shift in grading, said Vanessa Powell, a fifth-grade teacher at Snowshoe Elementary School in Wasilla, Alaska.
“It’s taken a turn from ‘Here’s what you need to improve on’ to ‘Here’s what you’ve done right,'” Powell said. “It’s not that we’re not pointing out mistakes, it’s just that the method in which it’s delivered is more positive

I only wish someone had thought of this and saved me from myself. It’s the formative years that count, folks, so a little kinder-gentler please. NJSue, when you reach for that red pen, take a moment. And just say no. Do it for them. Do it for our future

13 Responses to “Seeing Red About…”

  1. The Real JeffS says:

    “It’s taken a turn from ‘Here’s what you need to improve on’ to ‘Here’s what you’ve done right,'” Powell said. “It’s not that we’re not pointing out mistakes, it’s just that the method in which it’s delivered is more positive.”
    Well, d’oh!!! But you don’t need a purple pen to change that. I had a journalism teacher in high school who kept a box of red pens on her desk, and used them constantly. But her approach was always mentoring, even when she did point out mistakes. I have never had fear of “red ink” (except in my finances).
    That people have to change pens to change attitudes tells me this is just more politically correct BS……and a way to water down teaching. You can’t teach someone without telling critiquing them, and that sometimes means pointing out mistakes. Teaching kids that they don’t make mistakes is ….. a mistake.
    Oi! Talk about your oxymorons…..

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    See, if you feel bad about school because your grades suck it’s not your fault if you didn’t study; no, it’s that damned red ink.

  3. Ken Summers says:

    And the pussification of America continues…

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    How’s that sensitivity training going Ken?

  5. The ‘P‘ word is not allowed here!! Gads!

  6. Ken Summers says:


  7. Ken Summers says:

    “P” word? You mean “Pu–le”?

  8. NJ Sue says:

    I use green or purple pen on my students’ papers now because of professional peer pressure, but I think it’s ridiculous. Eventually these colors will have negative connotations for students too. Criticism hurts, even when it’s gently couched.

  9. Ken Summers says:

    Jeez Sue. You mean you mark answers wrong? Don’t you know that will hurt their self esteem, and that their answers are equally correct, just differently correct?

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    She didn’t say she marked things wrong Ken; for all you know she may use those pretty pastel inks to draw smiley faces and write “You’re a special person!” in the margins.
    But I would guess not.

  11. “You’re a special person!”
    …and by virtue of your writing skills rate the special short bus.

  12. Ken Summers says:

    I can’t remember who, but several years ago there was a comic with a bit about those “Slow Children” signs on the road. “It…it just tears my heart out!”. But he felt better after discovering that they can grow up to be productive citizens – he saw a sign that said “Slow Men at Work”.

  13. Nightfly says:

    Maybe I’m just a crummy guy, but I think that being honest is more important to kids than being mindlessly supportive. Given an endless stream of happy thoughts and false praise, a child becomes pampered and egotistical. Honest criticism isn’t just meanness or cruelty; and when the child does earn praise it’s the more welcome because it’s merited. I remember my “tough-but-fair” teachers a hell of a lot better than my “that’s OK!” hand-holders.

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