My teacher was a poor speller – so what?

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Two days ago, my sister tagged me in this photo from Sunrise on Facebook:

Screenshot 2015-01-03 10.48.37

Based around a spelling test that no teachers got a perfect score, it raised the question that maybe getting into a teaching course is too easy.

I replied to my sister, on my teaching high-horse, that I disagreed. I was a brilliant speller, spelling words like restaurant and rhinocerous in Prep (proven by the fact that my mother has kept my spelling book all these years!). My Year 3 teacher was a terrible speller. I recall her asking me constantly to help her correct my classmates spelling in their writing. When writing on the board, she would often ask for my input when spelling trickier words.

As I thought about this it got me thinking. Was she really a bad speller? Was she trying to get me to feel important or trying to extend me? Was she differentiating her teaching so that I wasn’t getting bored? I learnt a lot from that teacher – she inspired me to become a teacher. It is purely her influence on me that brought me to the idea of teaching.

English is a really hard language, even for those for whom it is their native tongue. Why are we judging the ability of teachers based on one area of learning? I couldn’t guarantee that I could get all of the words right on that test, nor am I sure that I would pass a test on division and fractions.

Sure, spelling is important. Despite this, there are other factors that influence a teacher’s ability – how about their nurturing disposition? Their passion to make a difference? Their love of children and learning?

So what if a teacher is a poor speller? What is important is that the students are still learning.

5 responses »

  1. Exactly! I think people have a common misunderstanding of the role of teachers therefore have this perception that they should be top of the class academics. Not true it takes so much more than that. An effective teachers everything to better the learning environment around them. I use my own weaknesses to better students learning which makes the whole thing more authentic.

    • Thanks Morgan. I like how you described using your own weaknesses to better students learning. One of my students was shocked when I told him I had to work out his maths problem in order to correct it. He was sure I would just look the answers up in my ‘answer book’. My maths weakness helped him and I work it out together!

      • One of the most important things I learnt is we don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. The exploration to find answers can be much more rewarding for both the teacher and the student ❤

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