Confessions of a Bad Speller

Confessions of a Bad Speller

So I haven’t been very good at spelling, actually I have been a bad speller. I actually have depended a great deal on spell check and family or friends to reread my papers. I remember getting papers back in school and they would be covered in red marks, at least half of those red marks were for spelling words.

In school, I had “coping methods” that would at times get me to pass a spelling test. For me, the trick was, don’t study until 5-10 minutes before you walk into class, then cram like crazy.  I couldn’t think of anything before the test, couldn’t talk to anyone, just keep those letter in my head. One problem would be getting interrupted by friends or the teacher before the test; ignoring or pretending to daydream worked pretty well for that.

Another problem was when the teacher wanted you to write a sentence with the word, those teachers were so frustrating, and picky. The sentence piece always got me, I would end up losing the other words that I was trying to keep straight by concentrating on the sentence. I mean really, why can’t I write, “He was tantalized” for the word tantalize? Nope, that was never enough, teachers wanted something more.  For my sentences I would be lucky to get even partial credit.

If I tried to study the words well before the test like at home the night before, that made me more confused then ever. I remember my mom trying to get me to learn how to spell the word February. I would get the “ru” order messed up or forget the “r” altogether.   She would say remember the “r” is for your sister and she was born first, and then “u” came along. When that still didn’t work she added in “a ‘r’ is for right BUT it isn’t on the right side, it is in the same order as the alphabet, ‘r’ comes first before ‘u’”. Well… in theory that seems great, and now that I know how to spell February it seems like something I would remember. Yet, I remember, on numerous occasions being at school at my desk trying to remember what my mom told me. I wasn’t remembering the ‘r’ and ‘u’ in the order of the alphabet because I then thought of ‘r’ on the right. If I tried thinking of my sister, I would end up messing it up with thinking surely she said to think of me first and that is ‘u’. Why would I think of my sister first? I would second guess each thing, and then with my stress of taking to long on that word it would require me to sing the alphabet in order to figure out which was first. I had to sing it out loud, but that would get me in trouble so I would try to whisper it. As you can see from my retelling of the story, my inner dialog had me in much confusion and I would end up missing much of what was happening in the classroom.

Fast forward to being an adult. I stopped thinking of spelling, one of the joys of being out of school. But one day, I remember overhearing an employee talking about how annoying it was when she would get emails from her boss (me) that had words misspelled all the time, she couldn’t figure out how I became the head of the department she worked in. I suddenly felt shame and embarrassment.

I knew I was not a good speller. I thought about a few incidents when I had someone ask me what I meant in my email because they couldn’t understand it. I think I explained to them what I meant and then said, “I was typing so fast I made the errors” but really, I just hadn’t seen them. It was really at that moment, feeling shamed by my inability to spell that I started paying more attention to my emails. I would make sure my spell checker was on, and that helped, but it still didn’t fix the problem.

My training to become a Davis® dyslexia facilitator is what helped me overcome my greatest problems with spelling. When I was “the student” for a dyslexia correction program for a facilitator in training, I started to really see symbols and words for the first time. Wow, it was AMAZING, the focusing tools helped me to see my errors in spelling and then the method of writing the word in clay and taking a mental picture of it was profound. Before I honestly just didn’t know if something was spelled wrong at least half the time. I didn’t see it, sometimes I would have an inkling that it wasn’t right, but most of the time proofreading was a joke to me. I wasn’t focused enough to even find all the errors.

I know I now have the ability to learn how to spell any word I want to.   I have worked on the words that used to cause me so many issues, like character, definitely, and business. At times, I still have to think a moment about them, but if I look inside my mind’s eye and trust my gut, I get it right every time.