September 23rd, 2005

Waiting

I don't know what I'm waiting for. I sit here at night, following link after link that holds little interest, waiting for Bean to come running out to the sofa. I feel like it's my duty to intercept her. But the waiting is more than that. I'm waiting for the storm to come ashore. I'm waiting for rain. I'm waiting for the waiting to be over. I sleep only two or three hours each night. My eyes feel like manhole covers. Am I keeping my eyes open because I'm afraid of what I'll see when I close them? I'm waiting. I'm waiting it out. If only I knew what that "it" is.

Devolution?

I spent over an hour volunteering in Skylar's class this morning, where the first and second graders were working on their spelling. Among the words included in their related but not identical lists were "raindrop," "slapping," "should," and "once." Every child I witnessed got a 100% score on the practice spelling test.

Afterwards, I drove to the U of A in order to meet with my undergraduate students, most of whom are juniors, in order to discuss their papers. Spelling errors abound. "Forever" becomes "for ever," "dandelion" becomes "dandy lion," "trickery" becomes "tricky."

But my favorite error of the day by far was the sorority girl who consistently uses the spelling "women" when she is referring to a single individual: "How rare can a beautiful women be?"

Maybe our nation's obsessions with "standards," which generally leads to excessive busywork and mind-numbing testing regimens, will at least produce one piece of edible fruit. Because I have a hard time imagining that the children in Skylar's class are going to spell as badly at age 20 as the students I'm teaching right now spell.