I was told to write a feature article about the Division Spelling Contest but every time I attempted to write, it was always an editorial that I was able to develop. Funny how it happened because I very well know the difference between the two. After I crumpled my last masterpiece of opinions , I felt ready to start with my feature story. That's it. I just have to release my reactions and my opinions first before I can start with my assigned task (those opinions are unsolicited anyway).
I started retrieving in my memory bits and pieces of what took place in the contest. I was there alright, but I must admit that I did not focus on the winners. Actually, I did not bother to take down their names and so I can't remember even one . While the winners were being awarded, I told myself that the long journey has ended and those are the children whom He chose to win . He did not include the pupil from the school that I run. For whatever reason, only He knows. After claiming His divine power and knowledge over us, I contented myself feeling happy for the winners.
As I was trying to look back to that day, the faces of the losers kept flashing in my memory. Sorry, I can't help but notice them for fear that they might have mirrored mine. There were different faces yet displaying one distinct emotion. How would a contestant feel when she loses? Definitely, not happy. But the faces do not just express sadness but extreme sadness. Yes, it was written all over their faces! I understand them. Preparing for the Spelling Contest was not easy. In fact, it was as if fishing in the deep blue sea. There were no words given to review. No specific books to serve as references and no idea of what these words within the grade levels are. It's not only that. Naming the letters in a certain word is not enough. One has to consider capitalization rules, learn the possessive forms, compound words and homonyms. Therefore, before one must start spelling a word, she must listen attentively first to the sentence and be sensitive enough as to how the given word was used. See, winning in this contest is really a hard earned glory.
At this point, I remembered what Miss Gutierrez, the former regional supervisor in charge of the private schools and special education said in the seminar that I attended years back. She said that, one of the characteristics of the gifted pupils or intelligent pupils is the difficulty in spelling words I oppose to the idea and at the same time suppose that everybody will agree with me. Apparently, spellers are intelligent enough to know and apply all the skills that I mentioned awhile ago.
With one or two mistakes, must losers claim that they do not qualify to the description? I overheard a boy telling his mom that he does not know why he was eliminated. Curiosity made my ears focused to their conversation with hope that his query be satisfied. After a while, the teacher in-formed them of the boy's mistake. The boy, after hearing what the teacher said, told her mom that he was not wrong anyway. In fact, he knows the correct spelling of the word. He could have spelled the word correctly had he heard the word clearly. He mistook the word for another word. A major reason to feel extreme sadness knowing it was his only mistake. Can we judge him as less intelligent than the rest? I would like to think that this thing happened for some reason. Maybe the Lord is teaching him the value of listening and so he must take (maybe we may consider also) his experience as another thing to remember in joining a contest… listen very well !
Losing really punches a blow on one's heart. Feeling sorry is but natural. Feeling extreme sadness is not. Reality is, pressure is also bombarded on the child's mind. Remember that children have enough bur-den put upon their shoulders in preparing for any contest. Let us not add pressure to them, instead, teach the children to accept defeat with smiles on their faces.
What took place last March 17 was not the last spelling contest in the Division of San Pablo City. As long as there is the Seven Lakes Association of Southern California, the contest will not end. Let us prepare our children not only intellectually but also emotionally. Let us instill in their minds that it is best to win but it is alright to lose once in a while. Let them bear in mind that there is always somebody better than each one of us, and in that particular Spelling Contest, those somebody happen to be not them nor us. Losing is just a matter of acceptance.(THE WEDNESDAY HERALD/4-23 to 4-29-2008/kristel iris estrellado)