Editorial Statement

To what standards of grammar should a blog run by an English teacher adhere? Should every entry be scrupulously edited to ensure perfect alignment with the expectations of standard, professional English?

It’s a big question for me, Kirsch, the English teacher running this blog. I do some writing for journals and newspapers, which I spend dozens of hours researching and then edit countless times. One of the reasons I wanted a blog was because I felt I had more to say than I had time to say that well. The format of blog is that one can regurgitate thoughts and feelings about life and display one’s vomit for the world. I don’t mean that to sound quite as disparaging as I’m sure it does, but I also don’t read many blogs.

Yet, even if I throw up into my keyboard, I’m a seasoned writer who grew up speaking pretty standard English. Another part of the reason I wanted to create this was to make space for my students to share their interpretations of the world. Many of my students write really beautifully, almost poetically, but in decidedly different dialects than standard professional English. There is a school of thought that says we must hide this. That anything published in relation to a school should be carefully edited to conform to the societal standards to which students will be held in the job market. I see great value in ensuring that students know how to write in a professional register, and that all essays are edited for both grammar and content.

I also see great value in students’ voices. Other schools of thought say that the only valid purpose of language is to communicate, and by that standard my students real voices communicate their stories better than professional English. One purpose of school is to teach content. Another is to teach confidence. My students know that I respect the language they learn from their elders, which helps them find the confidence to write, speak and publish in the world.

This is a space for us to share in our real, authentic voices. I invite people to comment on what they see, but I reserve the right to censor comments that are hateful or hurtful. As my former principal used to say, teenagers are half-baked cakes. They look all done, but the insides are still soft, and if one walks too heavily around them, they will fall.

Enjoy!

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