4 Tip’s For Being Respected

apostrophe2An Alarming Trend
One of the things that I have come to realize is that, by and large, educators have a poor grasp of grammar and spelling. Maybe this is isolated to the United States, but part of me fears that is not the case. Since nearly all of my adult life has been spent in educational circles, I have no first-hand knowledge of other fields. It amazes me how often I get emails from secretaries, teachers, and even administrators which contain a remarkably poor grasp of the English language. The sad part is that it’s often not accidental. They reuse the same misspellings throughout the same email, or even repeat them in further correspondence.

But The Problem Is Deeper
I could almost blow it off as technical or typographical difficulties. I really wish that I could do that. I so desperately want to, but I hear bad grammar when they talk. I don’t even mean conversationally breaking rules like ending sentences with prepositions or using slang terms (“Y’all hurry up,” etc.). It’s simply bad word choice such as “Set up straight,” “Do that for him and I.” Dangling participles, made up words, unnecessary redundancies, double negatives, you name it, I’ve heard it come from the mouth of a teacher.

But This Isn’t English Class!
That’s the excuse that my students give me when I correct them in class. My response is always that we speak English in this class, so we might as well speak it correctly. I admit, I was something of a grammar Nazi when I was in high school and it has carried through to this day. I generally am getting better about correcting adults, but it still bothers me.

But The Title Says 4 Tips
You may have noticed that I messed up the title. Obviously that was done on purpose, since the content of the post is about spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The job of a headline is to draw the reader in. If you are here, the headline did its job! So what are the four tips?

  1. Write Correctly. If you don’t know some grammatical rules, ask your local grammarian, or just look them up online.
  2. Spell Correctly. If you don’t know, look it up. This saves time (and shame) later.
  3. Don’t Trust Spell Check. If it’s underlined in red, it’s probably wrong. If it’s not underlined in red, it’s potentially right. But there are no guarantees. This is why it is best to spell correctly in the first place.
  4. Proofread Before Printing. If you don’t have mad language skills, find someone who does, befriend them, and take advantage of their free time. :)
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[EDITOR’S NOTE]: Seth Godin illustrated this concept in his blog recently (4/21/07).

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

4 Comments on 4 Tip’s For Being Respected

  1. There is a tabletop fan in the teachers’ lounge of one of my schools with the name a of the school written on it… incorrectly. (“Pionner” instead of “Pioneer.”) Things like this frighten me. I see misspellings like this often, but since this one is more permanent it grates on my nerves every time I see it! And it’s the name of the doggone school!

  2. I believe your four tips are a great reminder to all educators. Following these suggestions will save all of us from making these embarrassing blunders and set a positive example for our students. I believe they will be more apt to use a dictionary, grammar guide, or proof reader if they see the adults in their lives using these resources.

  3. That would be why I wrote the following in the last section:

    “You may have noticed that I messed up the title. Obviously that was done on purpose, since the content of the post is about spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The job of a headline is to draw the reader in. If you are here, the headline did its job!”

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