14 July 2006

A Day in the Life, Part 1: She Teaches a Class

I’m a communication project manager and copywriter. This year, because I’m a bit of a grammar nerd, I’ve been given a new responsibility: developing and delivering writing classes for our employees. Some are tailored for a department, while another is a grammar/writing course for our corporate masses. I started a series of writing courses yesterday tailored for our facility services department. Their manager has made it a requirement, so I’ll teach it every Thursday this month.

The first class went well. My students were some of my favorite people in that group — the head of fleet services, the head of our copy center and the cafeteria, one of our receptionists, and two of our hardworking service guys. We covered the basics of writing a clear, simple sentence, then dove into writing a good business e-mail (really, just about the only form of communication we corporate types have today. Why write a report or call someone when you can type an e-mail?).

I was on a roll. I like the people. I’m passionate about the topic. I love performing in front of the crowd (because, after all, teaching is a performance, isn’t it?). About 30 minutes into the class, the lone female student gives me that nod … that check yourself nod. Oh, no. I glance down … and my pants are riding dangerously low on my hips, showing off my belly and my black silk panties. I’ve suddenly dropped 10 pounds, and it seems my brown silk palazzo pants — my favorite chic-yet-they’re-like-wearing-pajamas pants — aren’t keeping up with me. Or on me. With subtle grace that would make a princess proud, I jerk them back up on my hips, never missing a teaching beat. But, jeez … my pants fell down in front of the class?

They did rate me a perfect 10, though.

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At 7/14/2006 08:53:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

"suddenly dropped 10 pounds"

Must be that Krystal...they really are better than White Castle, I guess!

Seems you handled the situation with admirable grace under pressure. I applaud.

Isn't it terrible that these types of classes are needed? It would appear that our schools are not effectively teaching the rules of grammar. Those that manage to succeed with grammar are then taught to write creatively, which is fun in the blogosphere, but terrible for business communication. Who has time (or wants to make time) to read flowery emails about cost overruns in the logistics department? Just the facts, please. I worked with a goof who constantly used "and that is is this" to introduce every pearl of wisdom he could muster. Yes, that's "is" twice, right next to each other. OK, I'm rambling...

At 7/14/2006 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Those Krystals are full of grease, my friend, so they don't stick to your hips. Or so I keep telling myself.

You should see the language I read in e-mails. "The screenings will transpire this month." "I will commence developing the program next week." Are they really impressing me with their word-a-days? Hell, no. And that's what I'm trying to teach them.

At 7/14/2006 10:24:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Ah, yes, the line between puffing up the importance of one's work product and just wasting the time of your boss through a bloated email can be a fine one.

But, generally it isn't that fine. It's usually painfully obvious: "I haven't really done anything yet, but I'll attempt to bury that nugget of truth deeply beneath the flabby excess of this email."

At 7/14/2006 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Don't knock it; that's how I got through many a college course. Write like you know what you're talking about, and you can easily get a B. But, yes, I hate it in the corporate world.

At 7/14/2006 12:39:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

think about what your grade COULD have been if the pants actually came all the way down!

At 7/14/2006 12:43:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Or if I'd shown a bit more cleavage!

At 7/14/2006 02:18:00 PM, Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

To be fair, us boys spend lots of time just trying to get your pants down - so when they do so of their own volition, well, it's just a sign from God that all is right in the world.

There are service guys talking about you right now!

At 7/14/2006 03:32:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Thanks, Keith. I'll sleep a little more peacefully with that thought in the back of my mind ... time to start drinkin'!

At 7/14/2006 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Renae said...

Hey, pants down just means you are relaxed (and a bit nerdy which is a good sign in a teacher) which is far better than the absolute worst situation while teaching--gas. Uncontrollable gas. Just try making it seem like you don't notice the people in the front row scrunching up their noses, looking to their left and then their right and then, then, looking at YOU and realizing that the Teacher is the culprit. Awful. Just horrible.

Congrats on your ten.

At 7/14/2006 07:22:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Good job. It's terrible that the need exists at all. For you to pull up your pants I mean. Har har.

At 7/15/2006 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous HollyC said...

Hey, I was wondering if maybe I could show up for that class next month...I know we went to the same schools, but somehow I missed it all the first time. If I have to write ANYTHING other than emails to friends I get a deer-in-the-headlights feeling! How did I get through college???? Oh yea, I only had to write one paper in my entire college education, and you helped me with that
But I do love to read

At 7/15/2006 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

C'mon down, Holly. The full grammar/writing class is at 8 a.m. on October 11. Would love to have someone bright in the class.

At 7/16/2006 01:51:00 AM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Though I make Messrs. Strunk and White do the six-feet under pirouette, I can mention my favorite mistake (and my father-in-law's..."irregardless."

I just doubled checked with the Merriam-Webster's online and it is a word!


Um, "who'da thunk it?" Is this a web prank?

At 7/16/2006 11:22:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Regardless of the possibility it is not a web prank, I still wouldn't use "irregardless." But, that's just me.

At 7/16/2006 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

According to Garner's Modern American Usage (© 2003; p.466):
irregardless, a semiliterate portmanteau word from irrespective and regardless, should have been stamped out long ago. But it's common enough in speech that it has found its way into all manner of print sources. [I won't type the examples here; read them yourselves, boys.] Although this widely scorned nonword seems unlikely to spread much more than it already has, careful users of language must continually swat it when they encounter it.

Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

So, my dear friends, please refrain from offending fellow word savviests and avoid irregardless ... unless you are using to mock someone who deserves it.


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