How we present ourselves can make a big difference.If we want people to value our programs, we need to make an extra effort to always consider how we are viewed. But how we present ourselves means more than just our physical presentation (the clothing we wear, our posture, how we speak, and such). It can also refer to how we present ourselves in writing. A recent post about pet peeves, on my blog There's a Dragon in My Art Room, addressed this topic. The post inspired enough dialogue for me to feel it was worthy enough to also discuss/repeat here.
When you send information about your program to parents, school board, or administration, or when you make signs for an art show, or when you write an article for a newsletter or a press release for a newspaper, or when you post on your school district website or other social media, you can expect that, if you don't review and edit what you have written, there will be mistakes. And someone will notice your errors, and those errors will reflect negatively on you.
Here are a few commonly made mistakes that you should be aware of when you write:
- Complementary colors: Colors placed opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary colors. You give someone a compliment when you want to say something nice. Note the spelling difference.
- Tempera paint: We paint with tempera paint, not tempura paint. Tempura is a Japanese dish of batter fried seafood or veggies. Delicious, but definitely not something you paint with! Again, make note of the spelling difference. Since they are both 'real' words, you can't count on spell-check to make sure you are using the correct spelling. As a matter of fact, if you are not careful, it might even auto-correct you to the wrong word!
- Your or you're? Make sure you are using the correct word. Your is possessive, something that belongs to you, and you're is a contraction for you are.
- There is no apostrophe before the 's' in a plural. Using an apostrophe before an 's' creates a possessive.
- Principal: Your principal is your administrator. To remember the correct spelling, remember that he or she is your pal! A principle is something you believe, a foundation for a belief. Make sure you are using the correct word.
- Be careful about the spelling of the names of artists!
- Jackson Pollock, not Pollack
- Michelangelo, not Michaelangelo
- Faith Ringgold has a double 'g'
- Georgia O'Keeffe has a double 'f'
Proofread, proofread, proofread!Spell-check, and double check when you are not 100% sure. People will notice! If you are hoping to convince people of the value of your program, you need to present everything you do knowing that how people respond to it might help or hurt you. Don't give them opportunities to find errors in your presentation!