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Thoze Leters Dont Ad Upp

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 22, 2021

I once had a math professor who was very invested in the “whole package” philosophy of teaching — so much so that his students were required to write essays and give presentations on things related to math, and we were strictly graded on things like punctuation and grammar, not just content. Many of us learned to be very careful and double- and triple-check anything we turned in because we didn’t want to have points taken off. We would often trade papers for proofreading if it wasn’t an exam situation.

One day, I was taking one of this professor’s exams and noticed a misspelling in a word problem. He had misspelled balloon as ‘baloon,’ and because our exam was handwritten on mimeograph paper and not printed from a word processor, there was no spell check to save him. Because I was hyper-aware of those types of mistakes in his class, I reflexively circled the misspelling while reading the problem and continued on with the exam.

To his credit, when returning the exams to us, he confessed that he had indeed made a spelling error on the exam and that he felt it was only fair that he award extra credit to everyone who pointed it out. It turned out that more than half the class had done as I had and marked the misspelling because he had instilled that attention to detail into us so thoroughly.

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