A high school English teacher in Chicago, he sees a variety of mistakes in the papers he grades, among them misplaced apostrophes, sentence fragments, and errant commas.
Those sorts of mistakes all too often find their way into the work of people who write as part of their careers, tainting their credibility and muddying their message. Scheur’s job is to head those problems off by helping students learn to correct these mistakes, a task that becomes more difficult as classroom sizes balloon and student-to-teacher ratios spike. The consequence is less personal interaction in the classroom. Without the feedback from teachers, children often lose interest in developing their writing skills.
In the classroom one day, Scheur stumbled upon a way to address the problem.
“I was teaching class, and a kid asked a question about how to use a comma,” Scheur said. “I asked someone to shout out a name, to which a student replied, ‘Mr. T!'”
Scheur asked for an object that belonged to Mr. T and another student responded, “Grillz!” The enthusiasm in the room was palpable, prompting Scheur to realize that every language example should have that level of personalization.
This was one of the revelations that led Scheur to launch the startup NoRedInk.