Posts Tagged ‘professors’

I love teaching.  I think I’ve been working toward this a lot longer than just the past five years I spent planning and then getting my Master’s in Communications Management at Syracuse.   I find a renewed gratitude toward the parents whose love of the language set the bar pretty hard in terms of trying to achieve something on my own; a renewed gratitude toward them as well for the introduction to Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, with their wonderful satire; and to Danny Kaye, whose wit and facility with words remains unmatched. 

So now, when I work with anyone who does not understand or know the delights of the language, I feel both irritation and sorrow: irritation at the teachers and parents who failed to teach them how to communicate effectively, and sorrow for these students whose worlds remain narrower than they should be. 

Someone told me last week that his high school teachers and his college professors graded papers on content only, and did not pay attention to grammar, spelling or punctuation.  How on earth does this serve the student?  Are those teachers trying to spare hurt feelings?  What about the hurt feelings that come from being unable to find a job that requires a certain degree of literacy?  What about the hurt feelings that come from being fired once it has become obvious that the person cannot write after all? 

Doesn’t anyone tell students anymore that it’s not just content that matters?  Why?  Let me tell you why: if you can’t present the content in a professional, non-distracting way; in a literate way; with as much elegance of style as you can create; with a clarity of vision and singularity of purpose, which spelling, grammar and punctuation enable rather than defeat – then the message doesn’t get through.  And if the message doesn’t get through, what are you there for?

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