Spelling counts

Spelling counts in Jessica Lahey’s English classes because it ‘s going to count when her students apply to college or apply for jobs, she writes in The Atlantic.

She also insists middle-school girls wear skirts long enough to cover their underwear.

I absolutely agree that we should not be judging girls on the length of their skirts any more than we judge them on their ability to discern “affect” from “effect,” but we do. In order to get through the door at an interview or past the threshold of an application process, my students are going to have to meet a standard, and it’s part of my job to teach them about that standard.

. . . This is true even for students who struggle with spelling and grammar because of some glitch in their processing, a learning disability, or a simple lack of exposure to written language. Many of these weak spellers are lovely, intelligent people, and I would love to promise them that society will see past their flawed spelling, grammar, and diction to the ideas beneath. But I can’t.

“If I taught my students that they could go to a job interview wearing a bikini and wielding a wadded resume riddled with errors and still be respected for their brains and skills, I would not be doing them any favors,” Lahey concludes.

In my first job at a chain of suburban newspapers, I helped sort through a stack of applications to hire a new reporter.  In my second job, I helped find an assistant magazine editor. In both cases, we rejected every application that contained a spelling, punctuation or grammatical error. Only a few resumes and cover letters were error free. Those we read carefully.

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