There is a teacher’s blog I read that I really like. His philosophies are extreme, and I kind of like the unbalanced, spinning-my-head feeling after reading his writing. I certainly don’t agree with everything he believes, and I would guess he wouldn’t agree with anything I write. But I’m just trying to figure this out, and am a work in progress myself as a teacher, so maybe he’d be kind.
One recent post caught my eye, and it’s about how we teachers stifle creativity by expecting correct spelling. Well, there are two schools of thought on this one: The first is that when teachers expect correct spelling, or we stop your meanderings, scribblings, writings, and attempts at communication with correcting your spelling, punctuation, and grammar, we are making you feel bad and stifling your creativity. You proudly show us your efforts, and we then put on our stomping cleats and punch holes in your beautiful work. I’m sorry. My cleats were at the cleaner’s, so there hasn’t been an opportunity to step on your work. The second camp says that all work is good work, correct or not, and any attempt you make is worthy, valuable, and should be encouraged no matter what.
There is really a third option, which is where I think most teachers and parents are: your work is wonderful. Your drafts, sketches, pre-writes, discussions–all of that, is worthwhile and valuable. I sincerely believe that. I respect your thoughts. Every day I teach, I find new insights, and learn from you. Really – you rock on ice. But understand that the world is full of conditional love. And to find strength in your voices, you will need to learn how to communicate in standard English (at least in North American countries). I don’t give two potatoes if you spell “humor” like “humour.” But please try to know the difference between “their, they’re, and there.” Please?
He makes an excellent point – he sometimes has a few mistakes, typos, and misspellings in his blog, but says he always has readers (over 8,000!). I make mistakes, too. Quite often I’ll re-read a post and edit it when I see something is amiss. No biggie. And yes, people do continue to visit his blog repeatedly, including me. But I wonder if I would be so inclined if the entire thing was consistently full of errors? Would I have the level of respect for him that I do? Probably not, and that’s just how it is.
And students of the new techno age: there are plenty of humorous ways to learn how to spell correctly. The blog, Hyperbole and a Half really sums up the use of “a lot” among other typing issues: