I’m an English teacher who retired after twenty years in the classroom.
I used to write based how how it felt or how it looked; I’d read enough to have a good feel for what seemed right. My teachers would say to me, “Read that sentence out loud. Does it sound right?” And I’d listen and fix it.
When I started teaching, though, I was teaching kids who didn’t have my background. I would say, “Read that sentence out loud. Does it sound right?” And they would respond, “Yeah. It’s fine.” I didn’t have a way to communicate what was wrong.
So I started diagramming sentences to develop vocabulary for teaching how to write “formal” English. I spent most of my career trying to find ways to make it fun and interesting, and I succeeded for a bunch of kids, but I failed for many more. Grammar is a hard sell.
I retired in 2018, said goodbye to the classroom, and went back to school to learn how to make videos for YouTube. I spent three semesters taking film, acting, and music classes so that I could produce grammar content in a way that students could actually enjoy. Instead of trying to make grammar interesting, I’m trying to be interesting first, and the grammar follows. I want junior-high kids watching this channel’s content, and I want adults with PhDs who know how to write well because they can feel it, but who are tired of only knowing a comma goes somewhere because it feels right. I want this channel to be unabashedly vulgar, fun, crude, hilarious, cringy, absurd, and full of bad ideas. I want to be the Jackass of grammar instruction! But I also want to use it to draw people in and show that grammar is not that hard and not that scary.