It’s Not Me. It’s You. (The Spelling Edition)

Way back in 8th grade my English teacher had written something on the board and a student pointed out that it was misspelled. We then asked her why she harps on us so much about spelling when she still misspells words. Her response? “I see so many misspelled words from grading your work that it’s tough to remember the correct spelling sometimes.”

As a teacher myself, I am starting to see what she means. While I don’t teach English, I do have expectations of proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Sadly, even though my students are not in 8th grade, they still can’t seem to spell–or punctuate for that matter. As I review their work, I second guess myself. I start to wonder about what I am reading when I see the same mistake over and over. Is this something that I never learned? Is there a new rule that I have not yet learned?

Then I come back to my senses and realize that, well, “It’s not me. It’s you.”

As a child, I paid attention in school. I had to. My parents were not native speakers of English, so they could not teach me what was proper. As a result, I made sure that I understood the ins and outs of the English language. I learned how to use a comma properly. I understood confusing homophones (it’s, its). I remembered the rules and worked to ensure that I was not goofing things up. I’m not the one who is the problem. My students are.

So my question is, what is it about students today? Are they lazy, don’t care, or are they… gasp… uneducated? Why do they seem to think it is OK not to know how to write and spell?

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One Response to “It’s Not Me. It’s You. (The Spelling Edition)”

  1. thedailydish Says:

    I cannot imagine how frustrating this must be as a teacher. As a layperson, I find it distressing how technology seems to be undermining (rather than promoting) proper grammatical usage and spelling. Texting? Gr8. I employ these short cuts too, I know they’re useful, but I also know how to write properly. It drives me CRAZY constantly seeing people mistake it’s for its (and vice versa) they’re, their, there, and so on.. God bless you for continuing on in your profession. It takes a special person to be a teacher. Seriously.


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