Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sarah and the Bee

I've gone on a school-wide promotional tour this week trying to inspire the seventh through eleventh graders to participate in a local spelling bee in April.

I began my speeches quoting numbers from the film Spellbound. "Nine million students participated in local spelling bees in America in 2001," I say. "This is a great opportunity that we'd like to bring from American society to Armenia." I thought maybe the sheer amount- 9 million-would be motivational to students growing up in a country with a population of about three million.

I told them about the rules-the difference between saying the sounds of the letters and their names. "If you say: kuh ah tuh you will be sent out the door. If you say cat you'll get to sit down until we have a winner!" I explained the process and then broke into my tireless focus on goal setting. I asked what the goal of a local and eventual national spelling bee would be. Apparently I overemphasize the importance of setting long-term life goals because I enjoyed responses like: "To have a better life! To be better people! To be winners!"

It seemed petty when I simply admitted: "You'll know how to write down English words and read the words you write."


Anonymous said...

Sarah (aka Akillah),
You sure are tough on those kids. I know some kids here that start out pronouncing things phonetically??!!! Good luck with the bee. Sounds like you have them focused on goals at least:)


Anonymous said...

How can you sleep at night? ;-) Doesn't your conscience trouble you, knowing that (however unwittingly) you are acting as an agent of Anglo-American linguistic imperialism?:
Anyway, I hope you return from your tour of duty there able to hold your own in basic conversational Armenian, and hopefully more enlightened about the 7 points of the Prague Manifesto:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're leaving an everlasting impression on the youngins over there! Keep up the good work. We miss you and Love YOU.

PS: Happy Valentines Day

Love, Uncle Tom