A Fatal (Spelling) Error

October 25, 2017
By , cupertino, CA

Ever since elementary school, I’ve had a reputation for correcting people’s spelling and grammar. In truth, I’m not that good at grammar, but most people think I am. It might be because they don’t care enough about their own to notice the mistakes like I do. Sometimes, I’ll even correct my teacher, although I try to do it in a nice way. I’ll just point out the obvious, and it’s not being disrespectful at all, because I’m just trying to help. Right? Well, one teacher that I had, Mrs. Nosral, didn’t appreciate it that much. She was already pretty strange in my opinion, since she had said some things along the lines of “I would swear RIGHT NOW but I’m in a classroom full of sixth graders.” She also had a bunch of stuffed animals she plopped on people’s desks on their birthdays, but that’s a different story. About her, she was old but dressed like she’s in high school, and the wrinkles on her face indicated that she frowned too much. And there’s no forgetting the stereotypical old grumpy lady glasses. She was Mrs. Godfrey from Big Nate in real life. Also, she didn’t know how to use the air conditioner; whenever I walked into her class, it was steaming, and whenever I walked out, it was freezing. The point is, she was already pretty unpleasant, but
I didn’t think much of it then.

Her classroom was basic. It was very small, but the roof was sloped so it looked bigger than it was. It doubled as a Chinese classroom, so every day, after roll call, someone would find their desk on the other side of the room or find colored pencils or markers under their chair. One time, she was giving us a lecture, and afterwards, we would share notes. We were doing earth science, so we were taking notes about the outer and inner core of the earth. One fact someone provided was the temperature of the outer core. It was in fahrenheit, and we had to convert it to celsius. After someone converted it to celsius, Mrs. Nosral wrote it down: “5000 degrees celcius”. I knew her spelling was incorrect, so I felt like I had to correct her. I raised my hand, and waited... for some reason, I felt like she didn’t want to call on me. After she had answered to everyone else, she called on me. I said, “You spelled celsius wrong, it’s spelled with an ‘s’ instead of a ‘c’.” She replied, “No, no, I think that’s how it’s spelled.” I was dumbfounded, because nobody had ever said that before when they were blatantly wrong.  I looked around my table. There was “celcius” written on everyone’s notebooks. All thanks to her.

Well, I slid my science book out of my desk, flipped to the page she was on, and found- there it was- “celsius”. I unfolded my hand again after she was done speaking, and looked her in the eye. I said, “I looked in the science book, and it says ‘celsius’ with an ‘s’-” “No, no,” she replied, this time more vicious, “I think I got it right. Are you writing all this down?” In fact, I was writing it down, in a better format that she was. As she tried to continue, I said “No, look here, it says celsius with an ‘s’.” She was getting very frustrated, but I didn’t notice at the time because I was trying to correct her. I raised my hand again. She was fuming.

Before I could even say that she spelled the word wrong, she grabbed her pencil like a sword, scribbled out the word “celcius” like it was the bane of all existence (she didn’t erase it like a normal person, no no!) , and, on the side, wrote “celsius.” And the one feeling I felt, the one final accomplish of that great endeavor, the one thing I could finally say… was that Mrs. Nosral was not normal. After five minutes of glares and note taking, at the end of the period, (when we were allowed to talk again), everyone exploded into conversation. One thing I heard when putting on my backpack was my accomplice Sebastian, science book in hand. He looked in the textbook and said, “Hey, it actually is spelled ‘celsius’!” Did anyone even doubt me in the first place? I felt a cold hand on my shoulder, followed by a forced turnaround. It was her, telling me to come to her class during 4th period, her free period and my favorite period, for a “special meeting” about manners.

During fourth period, I was having a great time singing and naming notes, when I remembered her little meeting. Right as it entered my train of thought, I saw a kid I hadn’t seen before approaching my choir teacher, giving her a pink note. In my school, pink notes are either a good thing, or a bad thing. No, wait. Scratch that. Pink notes are a BAD thing. They’re used by teachers to subtly tell someone to go somewhere quickly, because they’re in for a lot of trouble. So, as I heard my name being called by my favorite teacher, I knew I was in for a lot. I stepped down from the risers, excused myself, walked down to the door and left. As I walked across the concrete past the humongous center school building, I thought to myself about what went down in first period. Was she making a big deal out of nothing, or was I?

I opened the door to her classroom. It looked quite different without anyone in there. Lonely, isolated, gloomy. Chairs were spread about after nobody pushing them in. And Mrs. Nosral was sitting there at her desk, on her computer. I grabbed a stray chair, swung it towards her desk, and plopped myself down. She turned around on her spinny chair towards me, and I prepared to be berated. Instead, she said, “I knew it was spelled celsius,” which I sincerely doubted. She continued, “I understand you were just trying to help, but you should be more respectful with your teachers. Now, let’s forget about this, and the next time you think I spelled something wrong, don’t say it in front of the class, approach me after class.” I realized I had been a bit rude, so I agreed to her terms, and we never talked about it again. That day, I learned that teachers aren’t always right, but also to be respectful to your teacher and give them a second chance.

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