Whiteboard spelling

This might not   come as a big surprise but I was a smart-ass back in my school days. I didn’t care about school at all but one thing that would always pique my interest was mistakes from the teacher. I was just reminiscing the other day about joyfully bringing my tests back to the teacher when they made a mistake. I’d do this whether it impacted my grade for the better or worse. I’d also have a ball calling teachers out on any errors they made. It was a hobby of sorts. In any case one poor teacher was a frequent victim of my eagle eye when it came to spelling mistakes. She managed to mutter thanks and something about “spelling being difficult on the whiteboard.” I was sure this was the lame excuse of a poor speller incorrectly positioned to be nurturing young minds. Only years later did I realise she was on point! Spelling at the board is serious business. I offer my belated and since apologies Miss ___ (name not remembered withheld). I too have tasted failure and confusion from that devious device.



  1. annloseva

    “Can you spell it for me, please?” That’s what I say.
    My students *and I* have tasted failure, too)

    • mikecorea

      Ahh the bittersweet taste of such failures. From here now with some distance, those mistakes I’ve made don’t feel so bad. But at the time they were pretty much blush-worthy.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Hana Tichá

    I always try to make fun of myself after spotting a mistake on the board (my students usually notice first anyway) but I can see it in the their eyes: Oh my god, she is a poor speller. The more I practise writing, e.g. via blogging, the more basic mistakes I come up with at the board. The latest ones I can now recall are: photoes (derived from potatoes and tomatoes), suggar, deppressing, gigant, devide, belive and there are more. I used to think I had some kind of disorder, until I heard other teachers talk about the problem. And I was particularly pleased about the fact that native speakers also make spelling mistakes, sometimes peculiar ones. I’ve learned to deal with the embarrassing situation in the following way : when I make a mistake in a word, I always say: if you ever make the same mistake in a test, I promise I will never take it as a mistake = I won’t subtract any points. Surprisingly enough, I don’t remember anyone making the same mistake ….. By the way, I love the spell checker on WP 🙂

    • mikecorea

      Curmudgeon is a word I use much more frequently than most people and I just can’t manage to even come close to spelling it right.

      I really enjoyed your thoughts here, Hana.
      I liked your test policy as well. I think that teachers are often (overly?) concerned with students seeing wrong English or spelling mistakes but I think it doesn’t sink in, unless it is never noticed.
      In terms of mistakes from the teacher, One thing I’ve done in the past was to reward points for catching my spelling mistakes. It was ok but I think it took away some focus!

      I think that is interesting that the more writing you do the harder it is to spell at the board. Hmm…

      I am happy you mentioned the “NS” thing. I have to say that I think NS get off too easily for mistakes sometimes. For example, it might take 10 mistakes for a “NS” to have their knowledge called into question but with an L2 user it might happen a lot quicker. Just a thought.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I am afraid your comments were much more interesting than the original post itself.

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