Teacher asks "What ever happened to Punctuation"

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm

This was an interesting, level-headed, and reasonable thread. And I don’t mean to throw a damper on it, I really don’t.

But please someone tell me why we all put up with teachers who don’t know how to use punctuation properly?

The original post started with “I am a teacher in the district. I use it extensively and enjoy it’s many functionalities.”

Does ANYBODY see the punctuation error here? Wouldn’t a self-identified teacher in our district want to take extra care to write properly so as to be taken seriously?

The answer is it’s probably not a typo. It’s more likely an act of illiteracy.


  1. It doesn’t really surprise me. I actually have a couple of teacher friends (one of them teaches English) who I communicate with via email, and I am often surprised at the frequent mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. What makes me all the more surprised is that they are teachers and I didn’t even go to college.

  2. You need to take register into account. I am the teacher to whom you are referring. If I were to write a business letter, it certainly would look different than if I were just writing an email, a text (certainly!) or a quick note on the family blackboard.
    I also never mentioned that I do not teach English and never professed to speak or write perfectly. Oh, and did I mention that English is NOT my first language? Should we start comparing in how many languages we have a proficiency?

  3. Even more surprising in email and the like which have simple, easy to use grammar and spelling tools built in. While not foolproof, they correct an abundance of spelling and grammar errors.

    They do have one major flaw… you have to be motivated enough to use them.

  4. In this teacher’s defense, look at the poll posted by PJ on the homepage talking about Valley being “to big” instead of “too big.”
    Instead of a subtle inaccurate use of punctuation or other minor infraction, this is a blatant use of an incorrect word. This, by a blogger, who writes for a much wider audience on a regular basis.
    ‘Nuff (sic) said. Nobody’s perfect.

  5. Don’t be too surprised, I still remember typing on my 1939 Underwood typewriter with carbon paper and no spell-check.we will survive.

    When in doubt just type in a comma and some …. whatever that means. And then there is “handwriting”… script, print and other such things.

    Sometimes I even use a #2– pencil with a yellow pad paper…or steno pad. Yeah, technology is fun.

  6. I don’t believe that you are a teacher. Blogging is an informal way to communicate, it is not an English essay.

    Relax and enjoy your time on the computer. Look for the content not the negatives.

    If you would like, I’ll claim to have a PhD in English.

  7. Or… Tears are sometimes an appropriate response to death.

    When a life has been lived completely successfully, or just completely the correct response to death’s perfect punctuation mark,is a smile.

    Thanks Julie Burchill

  8. it’s = it is.

    Doesnt’ suprize me at awl.

  9. I also see a lot of poor punctuation and grammer in business letters and communications. I think in a lot of cases it is just the result of carelessness and laziness in proofreading combined with rushing. Most of us try do do everything much too quickly now. I do agree, that “impression management” in e-communication is important and in this case, for a teacher, most important!

  10. “…and I didn’t even go to college.”

    That must explain your incorrect use of “who” instead of “whom.” haha this is a ridiculous thread.

    The correct form would have been “with whom I communicate” la di da

  11. You can't edit your posts on this blog. People type fast & make typos. The teacher may hit "Publish Your Comment", then realized "it's" should be "its".

  12. 11:46—- Give me a break and get a life. Stop with the sanctimony! Wow, who cares how smart you are? Most people are well aware that there is no correlation between achievement in life and achievement in school. Your post only reflects your own insecurity. This format is simply another way to communicate, so does that mean you put down different dialects, too? For your information, I am not an English major and you can knock me all you want; I will not respond.

  13. To lazy to preview, spell-check or proof your comments,
    Teachers who are student candidates for ESL classes,
    Justifying your own poor behavior by pointing to others’ poor behavior,
    Blaming others or technology for your own mistakes,
    Using relativism to try to normalize your own poor behavior….

    Yeah… It’s all good.

  14. In my opinion, most people who have had real achievement in life – aside from professional sports and the performing arts – have had at least some achievement in school, or made up for it later in some way. There will always be exceptions, but in any case, achievement in school is always a benefit. Your comment reflects YOUR insecurity, in my view, since people who do use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar seldom complain about those of us who harp on such things. Moreover, I would expect those charged with teaching my kids how to read and write English would know how to do it properly.

  15. 6:57- do you realize that you misspelled the word grammar???? This is toooooo funny!

  16. Please do not be surprised at the often poor grammar used by educators and administrators. Today, teachers are drawn from the bottom third of high school graduation classes. Enough said.

  17. 12:27- The irony!!!!!!!! The shame!!!!! You were TO lazy to proofread YOUR work, my friend.

    And the teacher never said they needed ESL classes. HE has been speaking English for over 30 years, he simply (and I know who HE is) said it wasn’t his first language. I am certain that he has near native fluency.

  18. Sorry this is the most pedantic bunch of bullshit I have read on this blog ,the who state is going bankrupt, the village hall is under water , our schools going to the constructivist dogs ,new jersey’s economy is failing ,taxes are off the wall ,people are fleeing the state ,politicians are career criminals ,the teachers pension was raided by the state , a major drug dealer was arrested in Ridgewood ,child molesters live in your neighborhood, a kid just drowned in Graydon and all you can talk about is grammar and punctuation? Folks lets try just a little to get back to reality just for a second

  19. 6:41 Your reality bites.

  20. 6:41 – You’re right that this is a pedantic pile of poop, but you’re wrong about the sky falling.

    Lighten up, Chicken Little.

  21. I see we have moved on from nattering nabobs of negativism and the new knee-jerk response is “CHICKEN LITTLE”.

    I hope this phase is short lived and we quickly move on to petty sniping that is more creative and entertaining.

  22. “And the teacher never said they needed ESL classes…”

    11:37 – Talk about irony… talk about shame…

    Sorry, I meant to say:
    Talk about irony!!!!!!!!!!
    Talk about shame!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get back in your glass house my friend.

  23. 8:31 — Not a knee-jerk response, but rather a sensitive, well-thought-out comment on people (like 6:41) who view the village glass as half-empty.

  24. PJ,
    Why wasn’t my comment, about how distracting incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation, posted? Do you only post inflammatory and assanine comments?

  25. “inflammatory and asinine comments” have been posted on this tread along with everything else ,please repost maybe it was deleted by accident, I was under the impression I had approved everything , by the way there is only one “S” in asinine.

  26. According to the spell checker on the comment form, it was spelled correctly. I will use a more reliable source from now on.

  27. could some one tell me which comments are “inflammatory and assanine” ? If asanine comments are going to be stoped they need to put a muzzel on the BOE and Village hall first LOL!!!!!

  28. 10:48 AM – I may have misjudged you… you DO have a sense of humor (and self-deprecating at that!)

  29. 12:39 — Ha,ha,ha, OMG, you got me!!!! 6:57!!!

  30. 11:17- make that a muzzLE and you have a deal!

  31. Proper punctuation disappeared with the Language Arts textbooks.

  32. i think i’ll axe my teacher in my abbot district the write way to spell

  33. 5:53 All this joking brought out the underside of your humor. That was quite a leap from making fun of ourselves to making fun of the disadvntaged Abbott Districts. I am still waiting for your humor to surface.

  34. “Proper punctuation disappeared with the Language Arts textbooks.

    …Corrected that for you:

    Proper punctuation disappeared when the English and Grammar textbooks were replaced by Language Arts textbooks.

  35. Language Arts? Let me get my crystals out. Maybe burn some incense, sit cross legged and do a little chant.

    We are in real trouble folks, the hippies and their disciples have captured the education establishment and like the Borg have assimilated it into their new world agenda.

  36. 10:19 AM, I’m having the same skeeved-out reaction to the term “Language Arts”, now that I know what went out the window when it came in the side door.

  37. It’s really sad that the Ridgewood School system still doesn’t see its long term errors that are still negatively effecting the education of the Village’s students. I had believed it while I was at RHS and still believe it after I graduated in 99. I went off to college with no clue how to use a good majority of the punctuation functions in the English language properly. I knew better the use of a tilde in the Spanish language the purpose of a colon, and yes English is my first mostly my only language. I’ll admit my seventh grade teacher Mr. Q had tried to correct the seven years of damage we had already endured in our previous years in the school system, but at that point most of just didn’t care since almost most of the other teachers didn’t care. It wasn’t until I enter the doors of a good Old Catholic college where the nuns taught me more grammar and language skills education in three months than I had ever learned in the Ridgewood school system from the time I set foot in kindergarten at Somerville and graduated from RHS. These should be basic skills that are taught from K-5 and should be mastered by a middle school student. I blame at the time I was in school the constant need to separate the students in groups of reading and writing ability and having a ridiculous division of smarter kids in one group, the average kids in another, and the struggling kids in another group. The teachers spent more time determining which student would use the red phonics books vs. the blue phonics books they seemed to have forgotten the importance of everyone needing to know the basics of equal value and teaching the kids collectively. So, your question is why do put up with these teacher’s and their terrible grammatical errors. Well, since most of the people who lived in Ridgewood up until probably 9/11 were born, breed, and implanted in Ridgewood. The terrible habits of the teachers and BOE have been somewhat overlooked since addressing the situation becomes more of a moonlighting job than cohesiveness attempt to better our children’s skills. Also, since a good number of teacher’s probably were hired based on their alumni status of the Ridgewood school system take in to consideration my above opinion of Ridgewood’s tradition of excellence and that explains these teacher’s and their bad habits.

  38. 8:41 PM,

    Did you proof this before sending it?

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