The Spill Chick included in word processing software has been a huge + for me.[mfn]In reference to spill chick, it cannot help with they’re eating their food over there.[/mfn]
As it should have been, spelling was an integral part of our junior high school English classes during the early 1950s.[mfn]Remember, I said I’d get this one in.[/mfn]
I’m sure I was in eighth grade because I already had an academic record of being not just a poor speller, but an ‘extremely poor’ speller. Nearly illegible handwriting was one of the problems, but not a real excuse. I was naturally left-handed, and that had been physically discouraged by my elementary school teachers. I was hit with a ruler until I complied and used my right.[mfn]I can rationalize now that I may have done better if printing had been allowed as an option to passing Palmer Penmanship lessons – it was not![/mfn]
Thursday was Mrs. Writesomeore’s[mfn]Improvised name![/mfn] spelling test day. We’d usually get the list of twenty-five words for the next week on Friday. Words were written on a side of the room blackboard and were to be copied during silent reading time. If a student missed the day, the list was off the board on Monday, so another student had to be the source of the words to study. I often wondered why she wouldn’t give us a Ditto[mfn]You in this generation may have to ‘google’ to discover it.[/mfn] machine copy. Perhaps there was a budget crisis like times when I was teaching.
One week I made a firm decision to elevate my grade and copied the words very carefully. I’d not worked with others to study spelling words before, but I did for that set of 25. As was my plight, I had trouble repeating spellings orally,[mfn]I have the same problem today. A sequence of letters in many words somehow escapes me, but ‘spill chick’ has been my strongest ally since I started writing with word processing software.[/mfn] but for that list I could write them clearly enough to be read by the peers with whom I studied.
Mrs. Writesomeore spoke the words, we wrote, we exchanged papers, she spelled the words, we marked errors, and computed scores. Papers didn’t go back to the testee, so we were in suspense until the next day when we’d get the papers back from her.
The classmate who checked mine gave me a thumbs up after the test, so I knew I’d done well. The next day when the teacher said, “Benson, see me after class,” I expected a congratulations for my effort.
Instead of congratulating me, she said something like, “I don’t know how you got all of the words right. I always watch for cheaters. You’ll do a retake after school.”
Her tone told me I didn’t have an option!
She stood only a few feet away from me as I did the retake. My score was 25/25 again. She told me she’d not accept my doing so well and told me she believed I’d found a way to cheat right in front of her. She gave me a 76% – the minimum passing grade.[mfn]Seventy-four was the actual minimum to get a D-, but there was no credit for getting 18½ words right.[/mfn]
I know now I shouldn’t have, but I gave up studying for spelling tests and maintained my still low but not failing class average with other activities. I didn’t realize at the time, but my not getting good spelling test scores again confirmed her hard held suspicions that I really had cheated.
In a do-over, I would study hard and perhaps prove my ability to get good spilling scores. Doing so then might have helped me with spelling today.