Teaching isn’t always about textbooks and handouts. It’s also about making it fun and engaging for students. A great many of activities are used to lighten the mood or brighten the day in the classroom. Few activities, though, can become as serious as a Spelling Bee competition.
This spelling bee became as serious as it could get as seven schools had sent their best and brightest in the hopes of winning the coveted first prize. The competition, hosted by Syafana Islamic School, saw roughly sixty, nervous, fourth-grade students, from all over Tangerang.
The average number of students per school was around six to seven but Syafana was represented by only two of their own, one of whom, I knew, had amazing potential.
As the rounds were counting down and the amount of empty seats kept gaining ground, there she was, this gifted student from Syafana’s fourth-grade class, always being part of an ever-shrinking club. By the second round, she was already the only representative of the hosting school. She was pitted against the totality of the regional juggernaut, Stella Maris School, as they breezed through the rounds. But as they advanced, nervosity was becoming apparent. She somehow managed to keep her emotions in check, never flinching throughout the whole ordeal.
Eventually, as fate would have it, it was down to just two students. Syafana’s very own against Stella Maris’ apparent finest. A tiebreaker was needed to declare a winner and a very respectable second place finish. As I was the judge for this competition, remaining impartial is paramount for the success of this event. Nonetheless, I still couldn’t help but cheer for Syafana’s unlikely hero. Her calm and relaxed demeanor was stronger than mine as she remained composed even during this intense moment.
On what would be the biggest coincidence I’ve encountered in the year 2019, the very last word on the official word list was the determining one. It was Syafana’s representatives’ last turn and failing to spell this very last word properly would mean a second-place finish. The word that came out was ‘’Immovable’’. Such a fitting word, as both of these contestants, would not give way to the other. Unfortunately, a small and simple mistake had led her to earn an incredible second-place finish. While she never changed her attitude or demeanor the whole time, she finally cracked a smile and thanked all of the organizers. Still a very proud and happy ending for her, all of the Syafana staff and students.
Indogro Institute Teacher