Tonight I received an email from Borders. There’s a contest on Gather to write about how a teacher changed your life.
A recent blog posting from Brian Clark of CopyBlogger was my inspiration, 5 Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Dumb. Brian wrote the post over 2 weeks ago, but it’s been nagging at me ever since. I consistently struggle with grammar and spelling.
About the Contest: Do you know a teacher who made a difference? Borders and Gather would like to hear your story so we can share it with others and celebrate the wonderful work that teachers do every single day. Borders will select four finalists to receive a $50 Borders Gift Card and on one lucky winner to receive a $250 Borders Gift Card.
During the day I reflect on what I’ve read, learned and accomplished. On my drive home, I’m usually collecting those thoughts in my head and organizing them to write on my blog. By the time I actually sit down to write, the content is ready to explode. I tend to write in ‘streams of consciousness’. I can’t type fast enough… so my sentences and paragraphs tend to be erratic and jump around.
Invariably, I leave a few mistakes. I save the post as a draft. I read the draft. I proof-read the draft. I fix mistakes and republish the draft over and over. Finally, I publish the post… and proof it again. Even though I take great care, I’ll still leave one of those mistakes that ‘makes me look dumb’.
But it won’t stop me from writing. I refuse to let it.
The Gather project inspired me to write about my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Rae-Kelly. If you don’t take a minute or two to read the post, I’ll fill you in. At that point in my life I was totally unsure of myself and desperately needed someone to provide me with a reason to gain some respect for myself.
Rather than focus on my terrible writing, spelling, and grammar, Mrs. Rae-Kelly scoured my work to find what was good rather than bad. By concentrating on the positive, I wanted to learn and produce great work for Mrs. Rae-Kelly. I would review my work for the mistakes made in the past and make every effort not to make them again.
Mrs. Rae-Kelly knew how to inspire and build self-esteem in her students. That’s rare for both teachers and leaders in this day and age. I know that Brian didn’t write the post to ‘make me look dumb’ but it sure did (and still does) bother me. My hope to you folks that are thinking about blogging or are blogging is that articles like this don’t discourage you.
NOTE: Brian’s blog is one of the best on the net. It’s a fantastic resource and has helped me to improve my writing and copy writing skills immensely. It’s a happy and positive blog and would never be used to discourage writers… quite the opposite is true!
I can’t speak for all bloggers, but I will forgive you for your mistakes and hope you’ll forgive me for mine. I’m not reading your blog because I’m trying to find your errors – I’m reading it because I am learning from you or enjoying your writing. At the same time, I hope you’ll take the time to fill out my contact form if “I look dumb”. I won’t ever get upset… one of my readers had to explain to me three times in an email when I wrote advise instead of advice (argh!).
I believe that my grammar and spelling skills are improving. I understand that, for some readers, mistakes like those hurt my credibility and reputation so I am working hard to improve them. Hopefully, you cut me some slack and focus on the message and not the mistakes!
Good teachers correct their pupils, great pupils encourage them. You can substitute leader, coach, priest, parent or blogger in place of teacher and it holds true.