Teacher’s Error-Riddled Spelling Assignment Goes Viral

by Elizabeth Licata

A mother shared a spelling assignment sent from her son’s teacher, and it’s full of spelling and grammatical errors.

It’s a tough day when kids learn that adults make mistakes, especially adults who are meant to be in positions of all-knowing authority, like teachers. Even some adults have trouble processing that idea, which is why a bunch of people on the Internet have gotten very upset about a teacher’s error-riddled spelling assignment that is going viral.

According to SheKnows Parenting, a Twitter user going by Pandamoanimum, whose real name is Amanda, posted a photo of a homework assignment her son brought home from school, because the teacher had made some glaring spelling errors.

“My son has spellings from school that they want him to learn,” she wrote. “I’m currently holding my head and sighing.”

Image via @Pandamoanimum

Elizabeth Licata

Those are some pretty egregious mistakes. “Sincerely” had its second “e” wander off into the wrong place, and it looks like the word “immediately” picked up an extra one. The errors are especially embarrassing because this is spelling homework. Spelling the words right is pretty much criterion #1.

It seems like the teacher did catch his spelling errors, however, because later on Amanda found a new, corrected copy of the assignment in her son’s bag. She assumes the teacher meant to replace the original with this one and somehow wound up dropping them both in. Also, he failed to notice some of the other mistakes in his copy and even introduced new ones in the clean-up attempt. Oops.

Image via @Pandamoanimum

Elizabeth Licata

Commenters on Twitter were quick to accuse Amanda of Photoshopping the images, which she says she did not do. They were equally quick to slam the teacher for the errors, but everyone makes spelling and grammatical errors. I was a copy editor for nearly a decade, and I still make embarrassing typos, misspellings, and copy-and-paste flubs every day. I’ve edited the writing of teachers, executives, people with Ph.D.s, renowned authors, other editors, and even Pulitzer-winners, and all those people made dumb little mistakes all the time. Those people at least had editors around to help catch mistakes. Teachers are usually on their own.

Editing one’s own work is extremely difficult, because our brains are very good at figuring out what words are supposed to say and overlooking the errors, even if the errors are plentiful and in plain sight.

According to LiveScience, our brains use context to make assumptions about what they are going to see, which is why, “For emaxlpe, it deson’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm.”

If it’s easy to read that, it makes sense that even a teacher could be working quickly and miss a mistake like “immediateley,” or fail to notice that he wrote “I will be sending home I will be sending home six words.”

Yes, we live in a world in which spellcheck exists, and the teacher should have used it. The teacher has almost certainly heard about the furor by now, and he’s probably extremely embarrassed. It’s an embarrassing mistake, to be sure, but mistakes happen, so let he who has never accidentally hit “reply all” or forgotten how many c’s and m’s there are in the word “accommodate” throw the first stone.