COMMENTARY | You know it's a slow news day when the biggest kerfuffle centers on a one-letter spelling error. According to "Good Morning America," when Prince George County Public Schools in Maryland, printed diplomas for the class of 2012, the word "program" was misspelled as "progam." The school is apologizing for the error.
In the grand scheme of things, amid wars, political crises and human dramas, this is a very small issue. So a school made a spelling error? As a teacher, I've made mistakes. I've heard the predictable cant about how educators must be paragons. Usually, I make the errors because I'm concerned about something more important and miss the trivial.
Seeing a teacher slip up is very satisfying for some. I was once confronted by a parent, rather pompously and in front of my students, about a spelling error I made. He overlooked the fact that his son, who was struggling, had finally mastered a difficult concept. He wasn't concerned that I'd been up most of the night correcting papers, planning lessons and getting my classroom student-ready. And for about $3 an hour (my wage, based on the 80-hour work weeks I put in). All he saw was a forgotten letter in a word.
It's time to get our focus on the important parts of education. I'm much more concerned that my kids get quality education, than that their teachers make no errors. If I wanted an automaton, I'd send them to a cyber school. I want a flesh-and-blood teacher who is personal with students and passionate about her subject. I want to see teachers make content come alive, create engaging lessons and inspire kids to want to learn. I want to know my kids are in a safe, comfortable environment.
It's fine to have a laugh over mistakes, but I think we need to look in our own backyards. Let he who is error-free throw the first comma, I say.
And it's not like the school forgot the "l" in public.
- Teaching & Learning