Two weeks ago, I graded my students’ essay projects discussing life in rural and urban areas of Texas in the early 1900s. For this endeavor, I opened a new package of red ink pens. Nine hours and 138 papers later, one pen was dry and the other was close. Students later asked if I was stabbed or in a bad mood because I was nit-picking over little details. Spelling IS a detail.
For the record: I was not stabbed. I was not trying to be a b*tch either. However, I consider spelling, grammar, and punctuation important components of writing compositions. Plus, for Pete’s sake, proper nouns (i.e. Texas) MUST be capitalized. No exceptions! Did I miss a memo about new rules for capitalization? Is this concept still taught in elementary schools? Are students still taught catchy rhymes (“i” before “e” except after “c”) and spelling techniques?
I admit that Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are saved as “favorites” links. My husband uses them in necessity. He calls me when Spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word he’s trying to spell. Poor guy. As a journalism major and former marketing professional, professional writing and communication are of the utmost importance to me. After all, first impressions count and misspellings are greatly frowned upon. Fortunately, my ability to write and eloquently communicate are skills I use daily in my current profession. In fact, I’ve received numerous compliments on my formal and professional language used in emails and correspondence to students, parents, and colleagues. Thank you.
When I’m in the classroom, I intentionally use a dictionary and/or thesaurus. You know, those thick books usually sitting on a dusty shelf? I almost tripped over a dictionary being used as a door-stop. *sigh* I want students to witness an adult using these resource materials. Sure, it would be easy to use my laptop and visit an online website but that would not benefit the student without Internet access readily available. I still cringe when my students ask me “what is a glossary?” or “where is the index?” Seriously? Several of my students could not answer either of those questions if asked.
I’ve compiled a list of words that I frequently check for my own writing. It might be helpful to you too.
Do you have a word or words that cause you to check a resource?