I haven’t been feeling well recently. This past weekend I had a bad headache and a dizzy feeling that has been lingering for awhile. Ugh. But I couldn’t let this stop me because I had an important mission to accomplish.

My cousin J.P. is an English teacher to French speaking students in grade 7. He had made plans to travel over the weekend, but had given himself too much to do for his classes. So I was hired to help him out by marking his students’ work while he was away. It was an in-class dictation, where he would read an excerpt from the classic story “The Princess and the Pea“, and the students would write it down. It was my job to underline all of their spelling and grammar mistakes and total them up. It was an interesting experience, made much more difficult than it had to be by the fact that I had a splitting headache at the time (and don’t feel much better as I right this, come to think of it).

One might think that this would be a very simple task. I mean, the “Princess and the Pea” isn’t exactly a complicated story, and they are in grade 7, so how many mistakes could there be? Well, keep in mind that these students predominately speak French, so they often had some very, shall I say, creative written interpretations of certain spoken English words. “Princess” was often spelled “princesse“, and I noticed the word “pea” spelled a myriad of different ways, “pe“, “pee“, “pi” and “pie“. Yes, pie. Pie is so good, after all. I don’t think anyone spelled “Hans Christian Andersen” correctly. Though it didn’t ultimately count, I marked it anyway. There were some spellings that were so completely wrong that I wondered just what they had heard, like “Hungs Kristen Henderson” or something like that. Some of them went fairly quickly, with very few mistakes, but there were a few that were just completely atrocious. I counted 78 mistakes in one, and that was me being generous! I might as well have just taken my red pen and underlined the entire page. Instead of putting commas (,) and semi-colons (;), someone actually wrote the word “comma” and “semi-colon“. It was hard to believe that it was real.

So that’s what I did with my weekend. I have no point in saying all of that. I’m not trying to make fun of anyone, and it’s not like it’ll matter since nobody there knows who I am. I’m just saying. Though I hope that I didn’t make a big bunch of spelling mistakes just now.



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