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Oh dear, DD's KS1 teacher wrote "there" when meaning "they're"...

(106 Posts)
JKB1 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:51:01

...and this was on a class assembly slide in front of the whole school plus the parents of the class. Is there any hope? You've got to laugh, then get on with the job of picking up the slack at home.

teacherwith2kids Sat 01-Dec-12 11:47:12


i think the key word is 'consistently'.

Where I work, for a 'one off' error, the head (who is, rightly, a stickler) would have a quiet word. The head herself gets everything that she sends home proof-read (as it happens, by me) to ensure that her letteres are as error free as we can manage.

For a pattern of errors from a member of staff, there would be a development plan including training, targets etc in order to ensure that it improves long-term, and a requirement to get everything 'public' checked (e.g. by a teacher 'buddy') before publication for that staff member.

teacherwith2kids Sat 01-Dec-12 11:47:44

(But when I'm typing quickly, random 'e's do seem to appear in words blush)

heggiehog Sat 01-Dec-12 12:08:05

Yes I am a teacher.

On some weeks I have between 10-20k words to write in addition to teaching full time. Sometimes I only have an hour or two between being given something to do, and the deadline. I physically do not have time to proofread everything I write, let alone spend time preparing the kind of lessons I would like to teach.

If you DO have time, great. I'm happy for you.

But it's sickening to know that I work so bloomin' hard to very tight deadlines, and if I happen to make even one tiny little error, I'll get lambasted by people who think I should "make time" apparently. I'm not Doctor Who.

heggiehog Sat 01-Dec-12 12:10:08

"Teachers don't HAVE TIME to proofread things? Well they'll have to FIND TIME, like the rest of us do."

ithaka It's truly amazing that you can command and bend the laws of physics and create time.

Celticlassie Sat 01-Dec-12 12:14:50

I don't think teachers have to proof read EVERYTHING. I don't, and my classes laugh at my typos regularly, on powerpoints, etc, but something that is being displayed to parents, I would make time.

radicalsubstitution Sat 01-Dec-12 12:51:00

Typos on internal memos/emails are undesirable but sometimes inevitable given the speed of response sometimes necessary.

Typos on reports to parents and letters home look very unprofessional.

There is no justifiable reason why a qualified teacher should be consistently making errors in spelling and grammar (other than on MN) on written communication to students and parents.

ithaka Sat 01-Dec-12 13:35:52

"Teachers don't HAVE TIME to proofread things? Well they'll have to FIND TIME, like the rest of us do."

ithaka It's truly amazing that you can command and bend the laws of physics and create time.

No, in common with most busy professional people, I prioritise, to prevent myself seeming incompetent in the workplace. No bending of the laws of physics required.
I am shocked you think proof reading a powerpoint prior to presentation requires incredible special skills - it doesn't.

Elibean Sat 01-Dec-12 13:51:26

Celtic and teacherwith - agree emphatically: 'key word is 'consistently''. One-offs are not the same as patterns of mistakes.


Welovecouscous Sat 01-Dec-12 14:02:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alcofrolic Sat 01-Dec-12 14:27:58

The teacher may have been nervous standing in front of everyone and made a silly error. I can remember the first time I played the hymn in an assembly. I was shaking all over (hair to toe-nail) and the music turned into a page of bouncing gobbledegook........ooooh, how I messed up......blush at the memory.
Assemblies are scary for lots of teachers!

(Feenie - I found your post very comforting.....I started on the wine on Wednesday this week too.....grin)

morethanpotatoprints Sat 01-Dec-12 17:05:14

I can understand new teachers being nervous presenting their first assembly, but if they are like this in subsequent assemblies, they are in the wrong job.
I don't think this teacher was actually writing the spelling mistake whilst presenting, theires [sic] no excuse.
Maybe teachers don't have time to proof read, although I always made time. This was due to wanting to do a good job, one of the reasons I left was because time didn't permit me to always be professional. Anyway the end result is still the same and unacceptable whatever the excuse.

alcofrolic Sat 01-Dec-12 17:36:36

Whoops - skimmed the OP and mis-read it! Is that as bad as making a spelling mistake? grin

I still get nervous before class assemblies after 20 years on the job. You're under scrutiny from parents, other teachers and all the rest of the pupils.

You only have to read MN to get an idea of the judgements being made by parents at an assembly: Why has my precious child got a smaller part than the PTA chairperson's child? Why can't the TA control little Johnny (who just happens to have SEN)? Why didn't my child get the special award? Why couldn't we bring the grannies and aunts? Why doesn't the HT stop them fidgeting? Why weren't all children involved? Why does the teacher look so upset about everyone staring at my cute little toddler making that cute little noise?..... not to mention criticism about the content....Ugh.

heggiehog Sat 01-Dec-12 20:02:44

"I am shocked you think proof reading a powerpoint prior to presentation requires incredible special skills - it doesn't."

Well, I am shocked at your poor reading comprehension skills ithaka but there you go. Nowhere did I say that proof reading "requires incredible special skills." You are imagining that conversation.

I DID however say that I physically don't have time to proofread everything. If you can bend the laws of physics and make 5 minutes into 10 minute or 15 minutes then you are very clever indeed.

I'm afraid as a mere human being I am rather too stupid to be able to accomplish such a feat and therefore will only proofread as much as I am able to in the 5 minute slot that I have.

heggiehog Sat 01-Dec-12 20:10:06

"No, in common with most busy professional people, I prioritise, to prevent myself seeming incompetent in the workplace."

It is marvellous that you are able to "prioritise" in your job but not all jobs are carbon copies of one another. I cannot prioritise one thing over another in a short deadline if it means missing the deadline. Something has to give and it will always be the proofreading, rather than failing to prepare a lesson or speak to a parent or address a serious issue etc.

Above all else, my priority has always been, and will always be, the children.

I wonder if you think that makes me a terrible teacher. Teachers make mistakes, we are human. We do not have all the time in the world and we do not often have the chance to "prioritise" work. If you have not done the job then you likely will not understand why that is.

ithaka Sat 01-Dec-12 20:37:33

Nowhere did I say that proof reading "requires incredible special skills." You are imagining that conversation.

You said you would have to bend the laws of physics to proofread, which seems an incredibly special skill to me grin

As I said, my OH is a teacher and he would not be impressed by a colleague who made such a basic mistake in a powerpoint presentation give to parents. However you slice it, it is not good.

heggiehog Sat 01-Dec-12 20:58:56

No it is not good, and certainly not something I would encourage. I have a colleague who cannot spell for toffee and it makes me cringe every time.

But I do object to the idea (that crops up every week on Mumsnet, joyously) that spelling errors need to be pointed out and that the teacher needs to be humiliated, ridiculed, shown the error of their ways etc.

Sometimes a mistake is just that, a mistake. We do not need red pen. We do not need parents making snarky sarcastic comments in reading records. We do not need bitchy comments on internet forums. We just need more time and less paperwork so that we can actually do these things properly and still teach with enthusiasm!

joanofarchitrave Sat 01-Dec-12 21:16:31

[shrug] Poor spelling makes an incredibly bad impression. Sorry, but it does. When I'm reading the newsletter from the new head teacher, I do cringe at the three or four spelling mistakes per issue. I obviously don't say anything, I couldn't do her job for the world, and I don't gossip about it except on here, obviously, but I can't help how I feel about it; she is a role model for my son's literacy and it doesn't encourage me. She has doubled the length of the newsletter; I would rather she halved the size again, wrote less, and got it right. Similarly, if you don't have time to proofread a presentation, how about not doing a presentation; instead, scribble some notes so that the spelling doesn't matter, and just do a speech? Or get one of the children to write notes on what you are saying? Or make a presentation which is a single cue word per slide?

RefuseToWorry Sat 01-Dec-12 23:04:38

Dear Parents and Teachers,

Let's be friends. How much more could we achieve by joining forces rather than attacking each other for our shortcomings?

I am a stickler for detail with perfectionist tendencies. I recently delivered a presentation which I had proof-read several times before the event, as well as sending a copy to my boss to check over. It was only during the presentation that I spotted an error on one of the slides, which I immediately apologised for.

We are human and mistakes are part of life. Who would you rather work with? Someone who encouraged you to forgive yourself for your mistakes, learn from them and move on, or someone who rubbed your nose in your inadequacies every time you messed up?

Welovecouscous Sun 02-Dec-12 00:29:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

teacherwith2kids Sun 02-Dec-12 10:49:23

What I do find a little depressing about this thread is where parents' [declared] priorities lie.

If I inspire your child to learn, spend my break times working 1 to 1 to address something that they find difficult, spend my lunchtimes marking their books so that they are clear what they need to learn next and feel that their great work is praised (and also deal with the 'falling out with their friend' issue which is taking over their day, and find their lost glove, and mop up the tears when they fall over, and check that the vulnerable child in the class has lunch today, and phone a specialist teacher who is coming in to work with your child next week), teach another inspiring lesson in the afternoon, take the whole school assembly which actually gets them to think about a moral issue, speak to 4 parents after school, put up a display to celebrate your child's work very soon after they have created it, then go home to create some more inspiring lessons for tomorrow .... then that is all valueless because I have made a single, very rare for me, spelling error in a presentation.

I am not saying the spelling error is acceptable. I agree that the head or another member of staff should have a quiet word and address a training need if it exists.

However if that spelling error negates absoliutely everything else that I do as a teacher to such an extent that whatever else I do you don't respect me or regard me as having any strengths as a teacher, I feel that you might be getting things out of proportion....

(And to the poster who felt that a teacher who had not given the spelling of a presentation sufficient priority.... it depends what the 'time that could have been given to it' was spent doing, doesn't it? Vs marking books - probably. Vs spending 1 to 1 time at the end of a lesson with a child who was at risk of falling behind - maybe...but if it was your child who was the one falling behind you might have a different view. Vs an emergency child protection conference - definitely not. One of the things that makes teaching challenging is that the 'unplannable' arises on a daily basis, and even the most careful prioritisation of workload can go out of the window in an instant.

Nishky Sun 02-Dec-12 10:55:53

Stands up and applauds teacherwith2kids, and no I am not a teacher, but I appreciate all that my children's teachers do for them.

ithaka Sun 02-Dec-12 11:55:53

Well, if the teacher really is too busy to proofread their presentation, maybe it would be better to give a good presentation without powerpoint. Most people hate powerpoint anyway and it is usually very badly used.

That is what I meant by prioritise - if you don't have time to do something, reassign the time you have to what you judge is more important. It is a pretty standard professional skill that I am sure the majority of teachers possess.

Shattereddreams Sun 02-Dec-12 12:08:40

I don't intend to teacher bash, my child is only just in school so my exposure is limited.
I applaud your long list above and your caring nature towards children. I applaud the long hours you put in. I do want all those things for my child.

In my chosen career, I would probably get sacked for persistent spelling mistakes ( the printed word). Anyone in my industry who doesn't spell well, or if not their finest skill, proof read 100% of the time, does not succeed in the industry. In fact, they wouldn't even break into the industry.

My expectation of teachers was that they would spell better than me and have as good as if not better punctuation.
I am shocked over the mis-spelling of the simplest words and poor grammar.

If a nurse (physiotherapist, radiologist or occupational therapist all do similar length degrees) have spelling difficulty but need to spell medical words in their profession and more importantly read them in order to treat patients safely, can you imagine the problems if they didn't pay attention the the spelling of the medical terms?

In my opinion, the need for teachers to be able to spell in primary school is more achievable than my example.

teacherwith2kids Sun 02-Dec-12 12:20:34


I absolutely agree with you about ''persistent spelling mistakes'. If those happen, then the teacher, at best, needs additional training.

However, there is no indication in the OP that this was anything other than a single, out of character, error - and that is why I posted as I did.

I have said several times that the approach to a single error and a pattern of errors should be different. The first is a genuine mistake, which should be addressed quietly by the head or another member of staff. The second is more serious and would require a different type and level of input - though this might still be behind the scenes and invisible to parents.

With regard to your other example, I frequently appear on my medical records with my name mis-spelt, and I have been invited to an 'asma review' on more than 1 occasion....

Shattereddreams Sun 02-Dec-12 12:32:08

See, the whole country has plundered to desperate depths grin

I of all people know just how bad spelling is from the yoof of today, I receive in excess of 3000 wannabe CV's a year to read.
Is this linked to the fact our teachers can't spell anymore either???

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