Teachers who can't spell or punctuate



POSTED BY sistim (7 yrs ago)
Anyone else have teachers who send e-mails full of mistakes to parents? And if so, what do you do? Our "welcome to the new school year" e-mail is littered with spelling/punctuation and plain old typing errors. What are we paying these people for? If they can't be bothered to check their own work, are they going to look at our children's work? If I know the difference between here/hear and where to put apostrophes, why don't teachers? If any teachers are reading this, please check what you send us- it reflects very badly on the school & your professionalism.

Rant over, steam still coming out of ears.... god help me if there's a typo in this!


midwife (7 yrs ago)
Is this kindergarten or primary?

Phoenix7 (7 yrs ago)
Is this kindergarten or primary? - irrelevant comment - are you suggesting the higher the grade they teach, the better the language conventions?

Yes, I agree - I'm a teacher. However, I'm amazed at the bad examples we're now surrounded by consistently. The standard of spoken English on television news, newspapers, signs/posters. The apostrophe thing is everywhere! And American English has certainly stuffed up the correct use and forms of prepositions and adverbs. Seems to me no-one in the print/spoken communication industries really care. Yadayada. It's a pain for me to have to set these things right in our students. Then again, is language ( of any kind) not dynamic and therefore always changing?

midwife (7 yrs ago)
It is not an irrelevant comment. I certainly do not suggest the higher the grade the better.

The reason I asked was that in MANY kindergartens, many so called Native English speakers are employed as teachers and in fact English is their second language. Many also have come from a non teaching background until they get to HK and unfortunately situations as posted above occur.

Phoenix7 (7 yrs ago)
I see your point - but MANY primary and secondary schools also recruit from a non-teaching background - both local schools and some international. I've worked next to many classrooms where the supply 'teacher' was a TA and friends with the principal. As in all professions, there is 'dead wood'.

sistim (7 yrs ago)
Sad to say that it's an international primary school & the e-mail was written by a native speaker..... I gave up counting when I got to the 12th mistake. Anyone know what a "calaculator" is? - see, my spell check underlined it- what happened at school? (or "shool" as it was written). Phoenix, you're right about the adverbs too - if I can find the link, there's an interesting article out there somewhere by an American parent who's sick of correcting their kids when they say "I did good".... sadly they even felt it necessary to add the correct form, for the benefit of readers.

cara (7 yrs ago)
would/should/could OF instead of would've/could've/should've





Those are just a few of my personal pet peeves.

sistim (7 yrs ago)
I'm with you there, Cara! And don't get me started on different than...

cara (7 yrs ago)

then/than.... i can't believe that there are people out there who don't know the difference!

sistim (7 yrs ago)
Cara, I think we were separated at birth!

Telemundo (7 yrs ago)
The head teacher of the ESF school my son attends sent out an email with grammatical mistakes throughout.

I was flabbergasted.

sistim (7 yrs ago)
Telemundo, either we're at the same school or there's more than one ESF head who can't string a proper sentence together! There's even stuff I've seen from the ESF head office that has mistakes.

My flabber is most gasted.....

CF (7 yrs ago)
If that came home to me then I would make all the corrections in red pen and post it back to them!

Or....if it is by email then forward it back to the person it came from, with all the mistakes highlighted and politely suggest that they do some editing before they press the send button!

I am a teacher and I completely agree that spelling and grammatical errors are unacceptable in any correspondence (and at ANY age/level of schooling!)

In addition to the ones mentioned by cara and sistim above - these are another couple of my personal favourites.......


are/our (no idea how this one can be got SO wrong!)

Arkay (7 yrs ago)
I teach part-time in Hong Kong, and have done so for some years, between and alongside my "regular" work. I frequently see materials prepared by supposedly qualified teachers that are riddled with errors.

I was recently asked to teach an intensive Conversational English course for youngsters preparing to attend schools in the U.S.. The materials I was given to teach from were absolutely atrocious, filled with spelling and grammatical and syntactical errors, and laced with badly-chosen content.

Some of the errors were humorous: "I have never eaten good food like this. It makes me a big appetite." In some places, background information aimed at the instructor had been included in the student handouts, leaving the lower-intermediate students puzzling over pedagogical and grammatical jargon that they would never, ever need to know, unless they desired to earn advanced degrees in Education. There were long and randomly cut-off lists of "slangs" [!], some of which were either very obscure or very embarrassing to discuss in class.

Obviously, these materials were prepared by someone who (1) was not a native English speaker; (2) was not an experienced teacher; (3) lacked even the most fundamental common-sense grasp of what should have been included in such teaching materials, and probably (4) was in a hurry to "complete" the materials via a somewhat random cut-and-paste approach.

Yet these materials were being used at one of the more prestigious institutions in the city, and when I complained about their quality, it immediately became obvious that nothing would be done to improve them. The materials had been used before, without complaint from the teacher or the students. The students had paid their fees and would not know enough to complain, anyway, so why rock the boat? Why should they do extra work to create better materials, when it wouldn't be appreciated? Besides, I was told, "We know you can work around any weaknesses in the materials and still make good lessons. Do whatever you want to; just make it good."

In other words, they wouldn't spend a cent of money nor a scintilla of effort on creating good materials that any teacher could work with, and which would give a good impression of the school; instead, they just wanted to find a teacher who wouldn't need their materials, and could still deliver satisfactory lessons, without proper materials.

Yes, I can do that... but is it fair to ask me to? Am I supposed to do curriculum design AND deliver teaching, for only a teacher's pay? Or do I hand out the inferior materials and struggle through them, making boring lessons while suffering the embarrassment of being associated with such garbage?

With that attitude from the people responsible for quality control, how can one expect good teaching standards? It's sad. The saddest part is that the students would actually LIKE to learn; they try, and they would gain real benefit from a properly-structured course, but they aren't getting what they should be getting.

I certainly won't be teaching that class again; at least, not with those materials --nor am I going to reward the school administrators with such a bad attitude, by handing them materials they haven't paid for. I'm trying to find a middle ground by creating lessons on the whiteboard and in the classroom (without other handouts) that will still benefit the students, but I feel as if I'm being taken advantage of, doing even that.

In such situations, EVERYONE LOSES: the students and their parents don't get as good value-for-money (or time) as they deserve; I don't gain any satisfaction from a job that isn't done right; the school probably won't get a good reputation nor many referrals from people who see the materials they use. It's just really, really sad, when it wouldn't be too hard to make a GOOD course with GOOD materials.

It's all about the money, and nothing else. Pride in a job well done seems to be an unknown concept, at least in some parts of some educational establishments in Hong Kong.

sistim (7 yrs ago)
The first year I was in HK, I worked in a language centre that was an attempted copy of Pasona (Japanese outfit) - the boss had just got set up & hadn't bought ANY teaching materials, so I volunteered to do the shopping- when I spent the best part of $1,000 on books & tapes she went nuts - "Why you spend so much money?!"

I also tutor some children who go to local schools and regularly have to correct material their teachers have prepared. But when international schools get it wrong, it really beggars belief.

cara (7 yrs ago)
Don't get me started on the appalling state of the teachers/materials in some of the local schools.

I had a student once who brought an exam paper home. He got 84% on it and was devastated. When I looked at it, though, the teacher had marked things incorrect that were perfectly correct given the information on the paper (it just didn't match her model answer). There were also things that were marked correct that were completely wrong.

sistim (7 yrs ago)
Case in point: from the primary school in Tin Wan, Aberdeen, the story of the hare & tortoise:

"He runs every day because he wants to win the tortoise"

Q: Why does the hare run every day?

Correct answer: "Because he wants to win the tortoise." - my student's mother knew it was wrong but was overruled by the teacher- how many kids out there don't have parents who understand English & can tell them when their teachers are wrong??

Tune (7 yrs ago)
" There were also things that were marked correct that were completely wrong."

A lot of this is due to the requirements of exam papers- 'one answer only'. As frustrating as it is, counter arguments from tutors merely lead to more confusion. Hey, this is HK, Exams, note the capital e, are the axis mundi.

All secondary teachers working in government schools should be registered with the EB, post-grad trained, have an English undergraduate or LPAT and or be working towards doing so. If not they are breaking the law.

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