What Would You Do?

This question seems to be getting more and more popular. Or maybe it’s just popular among my FB friends, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just me, because I’ve become a crotchety old Grammar Nazi.

There is an educator in my son’s life who writes awful correspondence. He is obviously educated – he holds a pretty high position within the educational structure. But his emails are deplorable; full of grammar mistakes like run-on sentences, sentence fragments, incorrect punctuation, improper capitalization, etc. Now I understand that a lot of these emails are basic “FYI” correspondence and not for public consumption, but if he writes like this when he’s communicating to average parents, is it a stretch to think that this is how he writes all the time?

I’ve spoken with friends who have encountered similar situations with educators in their life. Newsletters sent home from teachers to parents, school flyers announcing events, even posters made to advertise school performances or athletic events contain spelling, grammar or context errors.

So how are we, as parents, supposed to handle this? Many parents don’t want to say anything to the teacher/education professional for fear that a backlash will occur, and it will fall upon their child(ren). Other parents just don’t care. But it drives me absolutely insane – these people are educators, charged with teaching proper spelling and grammar, and they can’t get it right in their personal and professional correspondence?

Which brings me to my second issue with it: much of this is professional correspondence. It is going out in email to a wide number of people, sometimes to the parents of the entire student body, or in our case, to the entire Parish. This kind of thing reflects back on our school. If the professionals cannot act or present themselves in a well-educated and professional manner, how can we expect prospective parents and students to take our school seriously?

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11 Responses to What Would You Do?

  1. Joy says:

    This would irritate the living crap out of me if it were a teacher or someone of importance. I dislike spelling mistakes like you handle the grammatical mistakes.

    I’m learning very slowly and I’m going to “blame” it on “I wasn’t interested in it when I should have been learning it.” I’ve always loved to read but I’ll readily admit, when it comes to using the right there, their or they’re, I was really bad. I always knew the right two, to or too but the others threw me. But since I’ve started to blog, I’ve wanted to learn everything I can so I don’t sound illiterate when I put my words on paper or make them come to life.

    But I’ve started asking and slowly I’m learning and now I’m becoming like you and it almost makes me break out when you read some of the things people write. Now when I read how bad some people write (speak), I just feel bad for them. Especially if I’m reading a blog or a news story and there are misspelled words or the wrong “their” and I feel so bad for them because you know they don’t know and they look stupid and they don’t even know it. It’s especially bad when it’s someone who’s trying to teach someone something.

    I don’t know what to do either but it bugs me two.

  2. skl1 says:

    I got a flyer the other day from the local director of my kids’ school. It was terrible. I can overlook one or two typos, but this was horrible. I was so glad it was only one page! Yikes, I’m still cringing.

    Unless I’m in the role of editor or otherwise involved in the publication, I don’t like to say anything, because it’s embarrassing to be informed that you appear illiterate. But I really feel badly for the school because this shows that the owner put someone so uneducated in a leadership position. I know it’s just daycare/preschool/KG, but still. It’s a respectable business and ought to present itself as such. (There has been a fair amount of turnover in the director position, so maybe that’s why this woman was given a chance. The owner is a foreigner and English isn’t her second language, but most of the company’s materials are written OK – a few extra apostrophes etc., but reasonable for the situation.)

    My sister’s 2nd grade teacher was a terrible speller and it used to make my mom so angry when she’d send home a note riddled with errors, complaining about my sister’s progress. Excuse me? How would you know if she was spelling anything write, LOL?

    When I was a young adult, I lived in a small town where the newspaper used to be riddled with spelling errors. One day I walked to the Newspaper office and requested an application for the job of proofreader. They said, “we don’t have proofreaders.” You don’t say!?

    Ultimately I think it’s up to the parents to make sure their kids are on the right path toward good writing, along with most other things. I think most kids will learn OK in English class (particularly the college prep classes where they read and write a lot), but some kids seem to have a block or something. I’ve known intelligent, successful adults whose spelling was at the primary school level. Such people need more than just a picky teacher.

    • mssc54 says:

      As you likly know, I take a somewhat more head kn approach. I feel like if these educators truly want to educate our children and grade them on their performance in the classroom (as they should) then they too should be held to the same standard of performance.

  3. mssc54 says:

    Their should have been some thing we could do about these morrans.

    But you know me. I correct the papers and send them back in.

    • Laura says:

      In our school, this is an ongoing problem. I’ve heard through the grapevine that there have been multiple discussions about it, but the problem never improves. It is very frustrating to know that the problem has been brought to the attention of the individual, solutions offered, and nothing changes.

  4. Nikki says:

    As an educator, this shouldn’t be happening. I’m not sure how I would handle it, or if I would at all. I’m not that type of person.

    I know I make mistakes, and it’s not because I don’t know the difference. Sometimes, it just happens. Very rarely do I misspell a word, but I know I’m not 100% on top of the whole grammar thing. But knowing there are people that seriously get enraged because of it, has made me more aware of it.

    As a parent, if this were my sons teacher, I would have them read the emails and tell me what he did wrong. Use it as a lesson, maybe.

    • mssc54 says:

      Here is the way I look at these sort of things Nikki.

      Although sucking the dirt out of peoples things is not at all a glamorous job I take pride in the fact that people trust me first, to come into their homes and secondly, value the service I am provideing by forking over their hard earned dollars (the more the better too)!

      If I overlook something or fall short of their expectations I would appreciate them telling me, “Hey you missed that spot over there.” Or as in last week, “That green spot where the dog threw up came back.” By letting professionals know that there is an issue (small or large) it allows them to make adjustments and/or improvements so they can possibly avoide such things in the future. The WORST thing is when a customer has an issue and does not let me know (rare I’m sure) and then just move on to the next service professional.

      With the case of the green stain. It was more of a shadow. The lady totally exagerated. It’s like I explained to her, due to the product she initially used to try to clean the spot it left a high alkeline residue in the carpet and because of the style carpet (berber) it took longer than normal for the carpet to dry. Since carpet dries by evaporation (moisture migrages up the shaft and into the atmosphere) any residue (soap from her) that remains afer cleaning will get stuck on the face yarns through the drying process. It was an easy fix. Just sprayed a leveling agent on it and all is good.

      I is thankfull that she let me no so I could fix it. 😉

  5. Phyllis says:

    It drives me completely nuts to see a lot of the crap that get passed around in written correspondence! Misspelled words and bad grammar are the worst offenses I can imagine! Ok, I know that I’m considered the “older generation” nowadays, but it seems to me that if I spend the time correcting bad grammar at home with kids, grandkids and great-grandkids that the “professionals” could get their acts together and learn not to slaughter the English language. Laura, I’m an so totally with you on this! When you hear people using phrases like “these ones” or “those ones” it’s like screeching in what passes for my brain! Not only that, but a lot of the people using those phrases are teachers, news people/media! In my opinion that is inexcusable!

    I realize that I can be a bit of a fanatic about it, but even when I write stuff for my own entertainment or out of frustration I go back and proofread it several times, correcting, changing the phrasing, adding punctuation, etc.. Yes, even when I know I’ll be deleting it when I’m finished.

    How about when you hear “conversating” instead of conversing? Or ‘yous guys” instead of you? I have a person here that CONSTANTLY uses “your guyses”. I just keep repeating “your, your, your” NOT your guyses!! Makes me crazy!!

    Now see, you’ve gotten me started on some of my biggest pet peeves. But I’m done now. I think I am anyway!

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