I realize that this is no fair, and that is precisely why I hesitated in posting it. But then I thought, well, wouldn't people expect me to earn a 100% on a spelling test? It's funny because, as you probably know, there are actually no spelling classes for English majors in college (or in graduate school, I can attest). But my students believe that I should spell every word perfectly, know every definition in the dictionary, and explain each word's part of speech without referring to the context of the sentence. When I tell them that there are no classes for those subjects, they are taken aback. "But how do you learn that stuff to be an English teacher?" they want to know. Well, kids, it's a little thing called responsibility. Before I was ever a teacher, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar (and reading, and writing, and music, and...) were all important to me, so, like most of you probably did, I took responsibility for my education and looked up the answers to my curious questions (and watched a whole lot of School House Rock). I know that is a ridiculous theory to accept, but when I was in school, we actually didn't blame our schools, our teachers, our parents, or our society for our intellectual gaps; we blamed (gasp!) ourselves. So, I guess I should be proud that I am a pretty good speller, because I have always been interested in correct spelling, especially since no one ever knew how to spell my first or last names correctly when I was growing up. I suppose that is why I became more conscious of the importance of accurate spelling when I often was referred to on papers, programs, and yearbooks as "Kristen," "Christine," "Christian," "Kristina," or my favorite--in the newspaper, no less--"Krisitian." Maybe instead of blaming my parents, I should thank them for my name because I became acutely aware of all of the spelling possibilities in the world as a result. Who knows; if they had named me Jane, maybe I would be walking through life with spelling apathy.
Disclaimer: I am quite aware that many people are not good spellers, and many of those "not-good spellers" are very intelligent people. I actually think that many people who don't spell well have extremely creative minds. Supposedly, Einstein was dyslexic and therefore had lots of spelling difficulties. My own dad, one of the smartest people I will ever meet, once sent me a care package which listed "chocklat" as one of the contents. So I hope my comments were read with the appropriate amount of sarcasm intended.
But Wait! There's more! Now, you know you want to take the above quiz and report your score back to us in the comments link. I promise that I will not: a) judge you, b) laugh at you, or c) put any red marks on your paper. And I also promise that, whatever your score, I have seen (much!) lower. Come on; it's fun!
Now, I have to climb down off of this metaphoric soap box and go do something intellectual....like watch "Conjunction Junction" for the millionth time. Sing it with me: "Conjunction junction, what's your function...."
P.S. Wanna know my two biggest spelling pet peeves as a teacher? 1) A lot. Two words, people! 2) Definitely. Most of my students spell it defanitely or definately. But they also confuse the spelling with defiantly. One of my scholars once wrote, "I am defiantly smarter than most kids my age." Hmmm...if you say so. :)