Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Grade Was A Very Bad Year For Me

Finding the Funny
I think this must be the week of true confessions.  I talked about AWANA yesterday and my very evil indiscretion there one night.  And promised that I'd share the other time I was a bad ass in my childhood.

If you are new, it will only take a few glances at some of my other posts to know that I am so not a badass and have no respect for them.

I must have been just "trying on" a different persona back then.  And it obviously didn't fit because straightforward is my middle name, today.  There is not a student in this town that would ever tell you otherwise.

I might have a bit of a competitive spirit, particularly when it comes to words and word games.

Although, if I had things my way in first grade, I might never have become the wordsmith I am today.

So, we had these Lippincott readers in 1980 that I think might have been printed in 1950.  They were very Dick and Jane like and by the 80s, Dick and Jane were grandparents and schools had moved on.  But our school wasn't dripping with money, so we used whatever they got out of the trash at the public schools we had.  If you're my parents' age, I bet it was the same books you used as a kid.  If you're my age, you probably had brand spanking new textbooks with modern things like push button telephones and mothers who actually worked and didn't wear aprons all day in the pictures.

Back in my day, we had weekly spelling words.  I know that some teachers in this modern era still do this, but I will confess (here we go again) that when I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1996, invented spelling was all the rage and we were HIGHLY discouraged from giving kids such things as spelling lists because it would stifle their creativity and make them not want to write.

**That is the only thing I really ever disagreed with in my education at Vanderbilt.  Otherwise, I was completely prepared for what I do and loved every minute of  my education classes because they made sense to me.  I just had some severe issues with invented spelling. Fast forward to 2011 and OOOPS invented spelling may have gotten a little out of control.

Yeah, I tried to tell them.

So, we had a spelling list and had to take it home Monday, practice all week, have a pre test on Thursday and then the real test on Friday.  And I usually aced those tests.  I'm a wordsmith.

But one time, there was a certain set of words that I must not have studied.  Or something threw me off and I thought maybe I wouldn't know them this time.  And until then, I probably hadn't gone into a test thinking I might not know the words because they were probably fat, cat, mat, bat and who can't spell those words?

But these were the big time words.  And I'll tell you them now because NEVER AGAIN AFTER THIS INCIDENT did I doubt my ability to spell these words:  canal, channel, apple and a variety of others that must not have mattered because these 3 are still burned into my retinas.

I thought that "just in case" I forgot the words, I should have my Lippincott reader open to the page where those very words could be found. So I put the book half in my desk and half on my lap.  And I wasn't going to look down unless I didn't think I knew how to spell it.

Boy, that Mrs. T must have had eagle eyes because somehow, she knew what I was doing!!  She was sitting at her desk (this is what teacher did in the old days, they taught from their desks!)  How could she possibly see my lap from there???

I'm not sure if she let me get through the whole test and then called me in from recess, or if she called me out right then and there.  But at some point that day, I had to go up to the board with chalk and write those words as she said them!  Without the book in front of me!!??!!

And I got them right.

Because I was a wordsmith even in 1st grade.

So why the hell did I jeopardize EVERYTHING and do such a dumb thing?

Again, I'm not sure if my mother was more horrified that I cheated or that I did it in a Good Christian School.

Lesson learned.  Lippincott readers are too bulky.  Write the words on a small sheet of paper and tape them to back of the chair in front of yours.  It's much harder to track.


  1. man! did 1st grade you wear a leather jacket and ride a motorcycle, too?! you were a R-E-B-E-L!

  2. No wonder you teach middle school, don't want to traumatize the little ones!
    My elementary school failing was in about third grade and getting caught counting on my fingers. Sister called me out in front of the whole class. Never did that ever, ever, again.
    To this day when i do sums i look for the patterns that tally to ten, like 7 and 3, 4 and 6.

  3. Ha! You didn't even NEED that ding dang book! My son is in first grade and he has spelling words and a spelling test every week. I hope he is not doomed!! Loved your post! So glad you linked it up with #findingthefunny!


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