Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oprah vs. Opera

Well, I read my last post - after it was up, of course, and realized that I had spelled Oprah. Oprah, if you're out there and you just happened to stumble across my blog and just happened to be bored enough to read it, please accept my sincere apologies. " : )

As you may have noticed, I am a bad speller. No ... really ... a horrible speller. I have been all of my life. I can remember being in 3rd grade and purposely mis-spelling a word I knew so that I could be out of the spelling bee before I was really embarrassed. Then, there was 5th grade when the only solace after a Friday spelling test was getting to hear my teacher read "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe". I let the world of Narnia take be away from the reality that I had failed a spelling test ... again. I think it was around middle school - maybe even high school - when I realized that I had spelled "tomorrow" wrong my whole life and no one seemed to tell me until then.

My wonderful, loving grandmother, who raised me and was a special education teacher, would tell me to "look it up" when I asked her to help me spell a word. What! Look it up? Like in a dictionary? If any of you out there are non-spellers, you can appreciate the irony of this form of "help". For those of you who have the natural affinity for spelling and may not understand, let me help you. When you cannot spell a word, the absolute worse thing you can do is tell the person to go "look it up"! If I don't know how to SPELL the word, what makes you think I can LOOK UP the word! Again, I say "seriously". I was such a bad speller that I could be looking through the entire section of "T's" before finding "tomorrow". And don't get me started if the word started with a vowel!

Thankfully, sometime during my college years, I discovered this wonderful thing called "spell check". It saved my spelling life. finally, there was something that could help me with my poor spelling. You see, I can read the word; I just can't spell it. During school, my reading level was always several grades ahead while my spelling was several grades below. Something my special educator grandmother recognized as probably a mild learning disability but never bothered to tell me until I was in my 20s.

The good news is that my poor spelling never held me back. I finished high school, went onto college, and am now a teacher. Before teaching, I was even a secretary, believe it or not. I was able to overcome my "learning disability" or whatever it is. Thankfully, I had a supportive family who never, for one moment, made me think that I would be anything less but successful.

Think about this the next time you encounter one of your students who just doesn't seem to get a concept, Yet again. After explaining it for the 5th time. Yes, this child could be the most annoying person who, if he would just pay attention, would be able to learn what you are teaching. Then again, she may be just like me. Intelligent, capable, curious, talented. Just a really lousy speller.

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