The Look I Make When Teachers Use Improper English


One of my greatest pet peeves is for a teacher to use improper English, grammar, or spelling, while serving as an educator to children.

I had an amazing, but very tough, English professor in college, who failed nearly everyone, myself included.

Even if you had an "A" in her class, but missed one simple punctuation mark on the final, she failed you!

After receiving several complaints from students, we were called into the Dean's office to meet with Professor Stye and the Dean to discuss.

He permitted us to voice our discontent with her style of teaching, while she sat ever so calmly across from us, listening to our dismay. When all was said and done, Mrs. Stye stood up and walked to the white board and wrote three times, the words:

Red, white, and blue

Red, white and blue

Red white, and blue

She asked, "which of these examples is correct?" After offering differing opinions, she shared an illustrative story.

"If you had a job as a bomb technician, and you were assigned to defuse a bomb before it blew up the city block, and the instructions were to defuse the red, white, and blue wires, it would be simple. But, what if there was a red and white wire, plain red wire, plain white wire, and a plain blue wire? Which one(s) would you defuse based on those instructions?"

Puzzled, we responded we weren't totally sure.

Professor Stye simply shared, "That's why punctuation is important. In this scenario, one comma could change the entire outcome."

And she was so right!!!

She went on to say, "You complain about me failing you for missing a simple punctuation mark on a final, but the business world isn't so forgiving. As your professor, I have an obligation to each of you to provide you the best and most competitive advantage you may have, because you will be competing with others for every job you have. If I allow you to skimp on something as small as one punctuation mark, then I have failed you and set you up to only do minimal quality work. And that won't compete with the likes of Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, or other university. And it won't get you a high paying job. You each deserve better than that, and that's why I will not allow you to pass my class until you reach your full potential."

I went on to pass her class and she became my favorite professor, ever! She had higher expectations that we did for ourselves. And, now, I am a so anal about using proper English and grammar in professional settings.

Now, don't get me wrong. I speak and write slang and break English rules all the time in my daily life. But, when it comes to professional deliverance, I work really hard to make Professor Stye proud!

That's why, if you are teaching my child, you, as an educator, should use the highest standards in your professional presentation. You are a role model and an example for each child. You are on another level of professionalism than most. Don't let your students cut corners or do minimal work. It sets them up for future failure and doesn't make them competitive in the work force.

Raise the standard of education! Make them work hard for their "A," and hold them accountable. That is what good teachers, professors, and educators do.


#education #teaching #learning #school #English #grammar #spelling #teachers #students #professionaldevelopment

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