Even English teachers make mistakes (Opinion)
Once you get an English degree and take the leap to become an English teacher or teacher, people get scared.
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
Regardless of my ability to engage people in conversations or put others at ease, once my profession pops up, people become embarrassed to talk to me.
“Oh no! I’m terrible with my grammar. I don’t want to mess up!”
“Why not?” I say, “I’m not working right now and it’s not like I’m going to correct you when you talk.”
Besides not wanting to be rude, there are only a few grammatical errors this really falls into the category of pet peeves that can make me cringe inside but I dare not want to make others feel uncomfortable. And even when a little repair is needed, I don’t “correct” my son or my students directly, I simply rephrase what they said differently if necessary or wait for them to realize that it doesn’t. sounded wrong and myself -Correct.
When I was a kid, my father asked me how to spell words and asked me questions about how to say things. He liked it when I corrected him; it was obvious to everyone closest to me that teaching English had been my calling since I was a child when I started writing. Sometimes now my dad even writes things incorrectly on purpose, just to see if I’ll fix it.
The thing is, just because I’m an English teacher doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. Nor does it mean that I know everything there is to know about the English language, written or spoken.
A while ago I was publicly taken to task on social media for making a few grammatical errors in one of my posts and it was suggested that this made me less credible. Ok, I can understand that some people think I should be “perfect” in my ability to write posts, proofread and be beyond reproach, but I take a different approach.
Doing my best to always produce a well-crafted and thoughtful article, I write what I feel or know. I take a break. I proofread and edit for meaning and accuracy. Most of the time, I read it aloud to make sure I didn’t miss anything when I re-read in silence. I take another break. I check the spelling, then press publish.
Sometimes mistakes creep in.
One of the things that made me a successful teacher and writer was my recognition of my humanity. Even though perfection was something I was looking for, I realize that I’m better when I’m open to the truth of my imperfections. It’s more relevant and disarming.
The writing process is one that occurs over time. As I started telling my students, not everything you write will be awesome, but it’s part of something bigger that can make you a more awesome writer overall. This same process applies to adult writers and yes, even English teachers who write.
Certainly, however, my grammar is not perfect and neither is my spelling. In the same way that my students became addicted to the tools, so did I. When I was a student I used books as references and still do. If I don’t know, I look. When I make a mistake, I correct it and learn.
Reflecting on writing is a valuable asset and a release as I continue my journey as a teacher, writer, and person. Errors occur. It is easier and more productive to adopt them. Fortunately, I have readers who are kind enough to contact me privately when these errors are glaring, and I promptly make any necessary revisions. I’m grateful that they care enough to read what I’ve written and care enough about me to be the best I can be at writing.
In the same way that I would not publicly discuss a student’s mistake with a class full of students, I hope that when my humanity is exposed and mistakes are made, readers will remember that I am righteous. a person who is still learning. We need to show our students how best to handle situations like this so they can become more helpful and compassionate people.
Making mistakes publicly is hard and sometimes it even paralyzes some not to try at all. I’d rather try and fail with the chance to try again than not try because of fear.
What mistakes have you publicly made recently and how have you learned from them? Please share