I started teaching high school English for the first time when I was barely 21, but the job aged me rapidly. Not that it was hard -- the kids were great. But other people, not so great. I was shocked the first few times I received a strange reaction when my husband introduced me to his friends and colleagues. The conversations would go something like this:
The "OH" was often followed by one of several responses:
You get the idea. People shied away from me if they were self-conscious about a lack of education, or they shunned me if they had had a bad school experience. I even considered lying about it and saying I was a home ec teacher, until I realized that then no one would ever invite me to dinner. In the 60s, people feared teachers, or actively disliked them. I'd have been much more popular if I had been a shoe clerk.
For that reason, I have been a bit bemused to realize that my most popular blogs are now about the very things I used to teach. Last week's column on commas made my hit counter spike, and there were several retweets of the column. Maybe I'm just hanging out with a better crowd these days. At any rate, I'll be posting a few more guidelines that you may find helpful. If you get tired of English class, just let me know.
And feel free to bring your questions here. I'll make an honest effort to answer them while not sounding like an elderly lady with warts on my chin.
We'll start tomorrow with a few easy ways to handle other marks of punctuation.