Saturday, November 12, 2005

Spelling errors, their corrections and keeping a straight face

English teachers (and, I suppose, other teachers) have stories after a few years of spelling and word choice errors made by their students.

I taught in Japan for three years in the late 1980's, and I got some whoppers of mistakes. One that charmed me was a student's attempt at"enthusiasm" on a spelling quiz.

She wrote on line 6, "Susie Adams" (who was another American teacher at our school.)

Another student wrote this sentence for "volunteers":

"I had many fallen tears when I took the English test."

So cute.

The winner of all time however was not in one of my classes. Oh no, it was a seventh grade honors class, taught by a friend of mine. The students were writing autobiographical narrative essays. Ms. HK was working hard with them to put action in their writing, showing not telling and all that.

Well, one girl wrote about falling off her bike and cracking her head open. In the paragraph describing the actual fall, she wrote of the cement "rushing up and then slamming" into her face.

Except, she wrote "Cement" with an "S." And then spelled-checked it, and then clicked, "Replace" with the word spell-check suggested (have you guessed it yet?).

So, the kids are peer-editing, and this girl's partner is frantically waving her hand;
"Ms. HK, I don't think this is right... is this right?"

Ms. HK is dying, trying to stifle her laughter, as she reads what has been written. The two girls know something is odd, but aren't quite sure what's up. Ms. HK just scribbles out the word with her purple pen (because red has such negative associations) and spells the word correctly.

Sometimes I do love my job.

4 comments:

nobodyknows said...

Just yesterday a student came up to me and said she and her friends were forming a rap group. They even made a small poster to promote themselves.

It read: "The [Fake] Middle School Rapers."

Natalie said...
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Natalie said...
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Natalie said...
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