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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back To School

Rewind to grade school. If you're anywhere near my age, the rewind mechanism could break down doing this exercise but try anyway. What was your favorite subject? Did having it as a favorite coincide with getting good grades for it? Has that interest in your favorite grade school subject stayed with you?  If no, why not?

Next question is for regular readers of my blog only. What do you guess was Pat's favorite grade school subject? Hint: I didn't discover my passion for music until 9th grade. Ready? Spelling. And yes the good grades coincided. In fact, spelling was the only subject where I got consistent "A's" from grade 1 through 8. I'm not sure what to make of the fact that spelling is no longer taught, but my own interest, notwithstanding its banishment from school curricula, has remained.

Maybe it's more accurate to say my interest in spelling has broadened over the years and become a general but profound love of words. I am proud my young adult daughter is a good speller. More importantly, she wanted to be so without ever being graded, making her motivation purer than my own.

So, how about you, has your earliest "favorite" stayed with you? Where did having it as a favorite take you in your life? How has your favorite subject shifted form, if at all? Let's go back to school, just for a minute. Feel free to check my spelling.


  1. First of all, traumatic things happened in grade school that shook my confidence. So, although I liked school, I was nervous about it, which one should not be. One such event involved spelling, or more precisely, poor spelling. An early teacher enjoyed, I'm sure, making me rewrite misspelled words. I recall the embarrassment of every week having to sit there and write the same words over and over. Which did not improve my spelling. I made a joke of it but it hurt. I also had a math meltdown in forth grade that required tutoring. And there was something about a sub-par IQ test. Those were popular in the sixties. Thankfully, some good teachers in high school inspired me, otherwise any hope of higher learning may have fizzled. I grew interested in spelling, eventually. I liked the humanities, but my college years did not include enough of them. I taught my kids the importance of writing well. They, and my wife, taught me to be proud of myself.

    1. What a powerful comment and moving story. You really went down deep here Jim. Thanks for taking my suggestion to rewind to heart. You're lucky to have found someone to bolster your confidence; many are not so lucky. Keep reading and responding; love your insights.

  2. I vividly remember sitting alone on the floor in my brother's room one summer day between 3rd and 4th grade. Reading his 5th grade math book, I was thrilled to figure out how to add fractions. That feeling of discovery on my own carried me right through earning a Ph.D. in math and a 41 year career bringing that joy of discovery to several generations of college students, many of whom have gone on to graduate studies in mathematics. But, one of my most memorable evaluations came from a student who struggled mightily to EARN his D in intermediate algebra. He said, "Nobody ever told me I could do this stuff before."

    1. Jeannie; I'm so pleased you found something you thought was worth commenting on. And I love this story. It's obvious your "first" favorite remained your favorite and sustained you and gave you pleasure your whole life. Hope to see more from you in the future. My posts go back to March 16, 2011. Go back and look at some other titles to see if you want to read and/or comment on others.