Sydney came home one day before the holiday break and handed us a paper. It said that she was selected as 1 of 2 students in her class to represent 2nd grade at the school spelling bee! There are two 2nd grade classes so 2 more kids from that class. 4 kids total. They would go head to head to determine the winner. The top 2 kids would go on to the district spelling bee in February. Sydney’s BFF was also chosen to spell…awkward.
I was never any good at spelling. Today, I mostly rely on my spell check and can’t even spell out simple works anymore. My brain spends its cycles on other things. Anyway, they gave us the list of words. It was 6 pages of 4 columns per page. Broken into easy, medium, and hard. We didn’t get practicing until too late and the holidays made us forget that we had this only after 2 days once school resumed.
Luckily, the training got more serious as the time approached. I would read off words to Sydney and she would spell them out. Words that were right got a dot and words that were wrong got underlined. I would send her to bed with the list to read the words and really try and memorized the underlined ones. The next day, I would randomly call out the underlined words to her to see if she had it mastered. While she continued to do pretty well for a 2nd grader, I would feel like some nights were a failure when a couple of words were wrong. “Is this my kid?”, I would think. “She is dumb. Everybody knows its ‘I before E'” or whatever the case maybe. I tend to forget that she is only at the start of her education and will surely be teaching me things that I have long forgotten a few years from now.
Being the coach, I knew one thing about the spelling bee — its about the process as much as the spelling. You have to spell your word. There is no rush. But whatever comes out of your mouth is your answer. So we practiced that…a lot. I would say the word, she would repeat it, or she would ask me to repeat it. I got her to ask me to use it in a sentence when necessary (or even not necessary). I got her to understand that you have tons of time so slow down and say it when you are ready. We drilled this down. It got to the point when she would mess it up, she would just consider herself “out”. All that was missing was the crowd.
Fast forward. The day was here. I hoped nerves wouldn’t get to her. You had to stand in front of the whole school. Yikes! Kim and I were able to attend. Kim sat right up front with the video camera. I was on Kayla duty. Kayla was noisy from the start so I took her out in the hallway to watch. This allowed me to still follow along yet babysit so Kim could enjoy. Plus, I got to express more emotion as the competition got underway.
More to come on the story….but since we have the video, I will let you watch. Hope you are on the edge of your seat like we were!