These are not words we like to hear from our doctor when we are being examined; or our airline pilot when a red light starts flashing on the control panel; or our credit card company when we ask what happened to the online payment we made; or Amazon when we try to find out where our DVDs are.
Now, of course some of these are life and death situations and some of them are not. But the point I’m making is if one chooses to be in a position where one is expected to know certain fundamental things about that position, then it is a good idea to be trained or to train oneself in such a way that these fundamentals things become known and even familiar. And yes that may take a little bit of time, and it may in fact mean spending even more time learning and working stuff out for oneself and perhaps cross-checking and maybe even finding somone who knows a bit more and asking them.
I can safely say that my doctor knows the difference between a heart attack and a severe case of wind – and I go to him because he does know and I don’t. I’m very glad my airline pilot can triangulate and calculate where we are and how to get me home to my children, but I don’t need to know that stuff. I pay him to know. And I’m also glad that Amazon has a digital record of my all transactions and payments, because I don’t have one and I’m not expected to have one.
Why in this case are some English Language teachers prepared and sometimes quite happy to announce that they “don’t know their grammar”? (Funny that they usually claim the grammar as theirs!) I find in incomprehensible that some of the trained English Language teachers I have come across, think “I had breakfast” is a Past Perfect, have no idea what a modal auxiliary is and happily slap apostrophes on possessive pronouns and plurals. It is, in my book, unforgiveable. If we want to be considered English Language professionals, then we really ought to know more about the subject than people who aren’t English Language professionals.