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On Handwriting - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
On Handwriting
Today drood wrote a post about handwriting and grade-school which got me remembering my own experiences. I had terrible handwriting as a child -- oh, who am I fooling. I still have terrible handwriting, and it's only gotten worse since I've started typing almost everything.

I remember when we were first learning cursive. My teacher insisted we start by writing in pencil, I suppose so that we could correct our mistakes. The rule was: once you received 3 compliments from her on your penmanship, you were allowed to write with an actual ballpoint pen. I hated writing in pencil, but I couldn't get a compliment. Not a single one. I fantasized about at least getting a paper back with the words, "You're getting better!"

Finally I did get that very phrase on the top of a paper! I joyously told her how happy I was that I only had 2 compliments to go -- but she told me that she didn't consider what she'd written a compliment. Showing improvement wasn't sufficient, it actually had to be good. I was devastated. Stupid pencils...I still hate writing with them.

Drood said he writes his 8's upside down, starting from the bottom instead of the top of the number. He was constantly scolded for it. I make my 8's from the top, but my O's and 0's start from the bottom. Surprisingly enough, my teachers never complained about that at least. I never even knew that was "incorrect" until somebody noticed it in college, I think.

On the other hand, I remember sometime in grade-school I noticed an 8 was an S with a slash. I started writing them with two strokes because I thought it was fun, and for one math assignment I actually decided to give myself a special treat. Since the slash was my favorite part, I did all my 8's as S's and saved the slashes for last.

When the arithmetic was done, I went through and gleefully slashed through all my 8's. I also remember doing that with writing now and then, saving all the crossing of T's and dotting of i's and j's for last. Except that sometimes I missed a couple and got in trouble.

For awhile I also tried writing my 1's with the little notch at the top, but my teacher thought they were poorly crafted 7's. She thought I couldn't add, but really it was just that I didn't want to write sans-serif.

Teachers never approved of my handwriting experiments.
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jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: March 21st, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
See now I was taught that 8's were two circles one on top of the other and I had to switch to an upright infinity sign because my coworkers, all from a different elementary school systems, thought my 8's were 0's.

The dictatorship of the majority.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why would two circles look like a zero? Kinda strange....
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: March 21st, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was mistaken for a computer era zero with the slash across it so you do not think its a capital O.

0 vs O
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I see. I still often slash my zeros. But not my eights anymore.
From: davidp5382 Date: March 23rd, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

O vs 0

Ah, you computer-age young people! I didn't start slashing 0's until college computer science classes. I did slash Z's starting in algebra. One of my co-workers in the late 80s slashed his zeros on a check, and was told by the teller that he would have to initial his 'correction'. She wouldn't process his check until he initialed it, even after he explained that those were not corrections.

Most, if not all the Europeans at Siemens put a (sometimes large) 'nose' on their ones. They slash their 7s. Made for some amusing mis-understandings for a while.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: March 21st, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your one is the appropriate one for France (pun intended).
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mais bien sur!
greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: March 21st, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hehe... I had to laugh at the image of elementary school Renniekins explaining to her teacher that she was using a different hand writing font :)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
*grin* Of course, I didn't know that I was adding a serif back then...I just knew that was the way the looked in books.
aiela From: aiela Date: March 21st, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
My handwriting was so awful as a kid my dad used to make me write my spelling words in cursive 3x each every day after school.

Not only did my handwriting improve, I got straight A's in spelling all through elementary school. Heh.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow... maybe I should have tried that. Not only is my handwriting poor, but my spelling is pretty terrible too.
(Deleted comment)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Graffiti did weird things to my handwriting -- for one thing, it got me writing my O's from the top instead of the bottom. But I still only do it sometimes. My V's don't have tails (graffiti your V from l-to-r instead of r-to-l, and it doesn't need one), but my K's sometimes lose their upright bar. And/or letters get loops in them.

I was never great a graffiti, maybe 'cause my handwriting is so poor. Or maybe graffiti worsened my handwriting, it's hard to say. My Treo has a keyboard, which I much prefer.
replyhazy From: replyhazy Date: March 21st, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got in trouble in 1st grade for making my 8's all in one go instead of with the two-circles method. Billy A. told on me and I never forgave him for such a humiliation. (But the teacher told me that if I would just do the two-circle eights until the end of the week, we would start doing the one-stroke version the next.)

Please at least tell me you didn't dot your i's with little HEARTS. I just hate that.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 21st, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yuck, heck no!!! I did't even do the little circles that some people tried. Just dots.

I don't remember ever doing the snowman approach to making 8's, although apparently a lot of teaching methods used it.
elizilla From: elizilla Date: March 21st, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was always pretty recalcitrant about the whole handwriting thing too.

In kindergarten the teacher told us that when we learned to write all our letters and numbers correctly, we would get a fancy pencil as a prize, and that everyone would get one by the end of the year. I figured if everyone was going to get one at the end of the year anyway, I didn't see any reason to change. My letters looked nice, just like the ones in books, so why would I make them in that stupid way? If the books and the teacher disagreed, then the teacher must be wrong. I already knew she wasn't that bright, because she kept telling me I couldn't read yet when I knew darn well that I could. Also my parents made no secret of the fact that they thought Miss Williams was a terrible teacher. Why should I change something I considered correct, on the say-so of someone that my mommy thought was a moron? Thus began a whole school career of second-guessing the teachers.

In first grade they sent me to a second/third grade split classroom for half the day for reading and math. That classroom had cursive letters on posters on the wall. I thought they were fascinating and I copied them all down very carefully when I was supposed to be doing my math homework. Then I went back to my first grade classroom and used them, and was told not to. I kept doing it though.

From third grade until junior high, we were required to write cursive for eveything. But I was bored with it and had gone back to my prettier printed letters that looked like the ones in books. If (if!) I was doing homework I darn well expected an A so I wrote the cursive as needed, but if I had a choice I never used it.

In high school they stopped requiring us to write cursive, and I stopped using it, except in my signature, which I worked hard to make properly illegible. Sometime in high school the teachers finally caught up and started complimenting me on my pretty hardwriting.

Eventually, the teachers do get over wanting to make you write things a certain way, and get down to what really matters: Can people read what you write?

From: lindaatzarquon Date: March 21st, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
My son writes all his numbers and letters starting from the bottom. Apparently his teachers don't consider that his biggest problem, and don't even bother trying to correct him. As long as they can tell what he was trying to write, they let it go. I just hope it doesn't slow him down later in life, when writing as much as you can of what the instructor is saying is important.

I guess we'll stress learning to type fast, and hope he can bring a laptop to all those classes. :-)
nishar From: nishar Date: March 21st, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have always written in block letters cause my cursive is so bad even I have troube reading it! After handing in a few reports written in cursive, no teacher has ever complained about it either. lol
rustymarble From: rustymarble Date: March 22nd, 2005 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
My teachers had the Graduation into pen-use thing too, I hated it. My perfectly fine handwriting never passed muster and I never got to use a pen with that teacher (cause I corrected her on a history fact, and she hated me for it).
To this day, I hate writing with number 2 pencils and stick to the pen-like automatic pencils when I need the ability to erase.

You are not alone! :-)
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: March 22nd, 2005 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I write from the bottom.
From: davidp5382 Date: March 23rd, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)


It always amazes me when someone, especially a teacher, finds a way to encourage or motivate someone, then with one careless phrase, ruin the whole thing and create a negative experience which is remembered for life. It certainly wouldn't have hurt her to allow you that one compliment, you still had to get two more. Yet she chose to dash your hopes rather than allow your misunderstanding of her encouraging comment to be a step toward your goal. I hate it when that happens.
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