School communicators lose sleep for the same reasons. – SCN Encourager 6/11/2013

The Awesome Trait #2 of School Communicators perpetually haunts us.

Yesterday I introduced my list of the “5 Awesome Traits of School Communicators.”

Awesome Trait #1 on Monday highlighted our universal willingness to always extend a helping hand.

I offered three tangible examples and, unlike last week’s never-to-be-repeated donut article, no one responded back to disagree.

So I’m interpreting this latent feedback as overwhelming “unexpressed consensus” and will carry this positive momentum forward into Awesome Trait #2 – where the spotlight will land on the nightmare scenario shared by most school communicators.

This bedeviling nightmare doesn’t involve our roles during times of crisis in our schools. Far from it. When a tragedy or an urgent situation arises, school communicators are ready to provide caring and empathetic responses that are professional and appropriate. Few do it better.

Awesome Trait #2 is not about these difficult events; the ones that occasionally bring tears to our eyes or test our team’s fortitude in an emergency.

Rather, Awesome Trait #2 is about our universally shared nightmare – our nonstop worry about typos!

If our profession has a unique common fear at all, it’s this one – typos. Plain and simple.

Think I’m wrong? Well, answer these questions.

What other fear can force you to read over the same dang paragraph multiple times?

What other fear can force you to read a paragraph aloud to yourself like you’re six years old?

What other fear can force you to read a paragraph aloud to yourself backwards?

Face it. We share a heightened fear of finding typos in our work whenever anything comes back from the printer or sign shop, and while we’ve learned to live with this burden, it doesn’t mean we’ve silenced the inner nagging voice that always urges us to take “just one more look.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll typically devote more time proof-reading my superintendent’s brief 100 word biography for an upcoming printed piece than I’d ever take reading over my own healthcare plan or a packet of important mortgage documents.

And here’s a real-world example for you. Who wouldn’t have nightmares about being smack dab in the middle of this “big typo” storm?

Note this university’s high-priced poster. In the article I’ve linked you’ll also see the university’s botched response to the mistake on the poster along with the piling on from assorted online readers (shown down toward the bottom of the article) who really had some fun with the whole affair.

While it’s hilarious, I think we can imagine all-too-well the phone calls, emails, the blame games, and the tense meetings this typo must have ignited within this school’s leadership and broader community.

This is what makes it a nightmare for us. It hits too close to home.

After reading this article – and if you’ve been on the job as a school communicator longer than 45 minutes – please let me know if you believe I shouldn’t have made Awesome Trait #2 about our universal fear of typos.

You should know, though, that my comprehensive research is irrefutable. Even our “fear of zombies” (maximum chasing around for minimal FTE) and our fear of “a losing, zero-win football season at the high school this fall” do not rank up there with our fear of typos.

Tom Page, SCN
6019 Tuesday



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