Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pick Your Battles Wisely

I came home from work the other night, went straight to the fridge to finish off a bottle of this really good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I discovered at Trader Joe’s, only to find that my husband had left the refrigerator door slightly ajar. (It’s okay- the wine was fine.)

So, I shut the fridge door, poured my wine, and got on with my night.

The reason I didn’t say anything to my husband was not to avoid confrontation; it was a matter of picking the battles that will actually make a difference. I thought about saying something to him like, “Hey, Honey, you know you left the fridge open,” but I stopped myself because he never leaves the fridge door open; this was an anomaly. It’s not like how he constantly…oh never mind, I don’t want to air my dirty laundry on this grammar blog.

I apply the same philosophy when I’m grading. If I am grading an essay in which the student uses their instead of there once but uses it correctly the rest of the time, I am not going to mark it. Everybody makes mistakes. I am only going to bring the mistakes to my students’ attention if I feel like the students don’t know better.

So, a while ago, a student used the word choosen instead of chosen. No big deal. Anyone can make a mistake. Then, it happened again. And then I began noticing it popping up in other students’ essays. And it just happened again today, so I can’t keep silent any longer: CHOOSEN IS NOT A WORD!



The Invisible Seductress said...

Favorite all time movie up their!! (kidding). I am glad teachers like you are around. Thank You!!

James Garcia Jr said...

Picking the food out of the pan...inconcievable! Sorry, I had to do it. No fair putting up pictures from "The Princess Bride" just to get me to stop on your blog!! My name is James Garcia Jr. You killed my father. Prepare to... Okay, enough of that! ;)

Theresa Milstein said...

I can relate to this whole post! You're better at choosing your battles than me!

When I was a fifth-grade assistant, if a child made me a card, it would invariably say, "Your the best teacher." All my Word Study teaching didn't make a difference. Sigh.

Culture Served Raw said...

Yes that is true. It's all about choosening the right battles ;)

It's fun making up words.

Wendy Ramer said...

Interesting grading philosophy. I'm too much of a stickler for good proofreading and usually penalize my students for those kinds of mistakes, but I think I'll try to be more flexible b/c I agree with you.

notesfromnadir said...

Great post that's so true to life as it is to writing. You sound like a very fair teacher.

G.~ said...

This post kind of made me think about how I choose (is that right?) my battles.

After some thought I have realized that I mention the little things and let the big things go. And I do this in almost every situation. Hmmm...

Oh, my poor children. See? We learn as we go and by then the damage is already done. Ah well, ya live and ya learn.

Great post and quite thought provoking for me. Thank you and I'm sure my husband and children thank you.

JMay said...

Ahhhh, best movie EVER!!!