Today I was asked to be a judge for a school Spelling Bee. It was awesome. I have no idea why I was asked to do this, I just know it’s typical that you are asked to do random assignments and jobs while teaching in Thailand. You miss class and it’s kind of a big deal. Such a big deal that they tell you like the day before and tell you to show up 5 minutes before your duty begins.
So I arrive at 8AM thinking this is just your run-of-the-mill-school-wide spelling bee. False. It’s kids from all over the Province, all different schools, judges from different schools and like 8 different events: spelling, impromptu speech, story telling, multi-skills, singing, and other random things.
They split us up in our groups, with our other event judges and our Thai teacher who has been in charge of coming up with the event scoring/requirements. Like we had a Thai teacher who has been doing spelling bees for quite some time give us a list of all the words with their sentences etc. I soon learn the only reason I am a “judge” is because they need a native speaker to read the words and the sentences aloud. The Thai teachers and Filipino Foreign teachers don’t cut it. So I got to stand in front of 45 3rd-6th graders and crush their hopes and dreams by throwing words like “gesture”, “elevator”, and “faithful” at them. 6 kids passed the first round by getting more than 10 out of 20 correct. I want to say 80% didn’t get a single one correct. Scary stuff.
The first part was written and the second part was oral. The second part was even better because I didn’t have to actually do anything but watch since there were so few kids. And they were all so cute. And they only all lasted about 4 rounds before someone won. Best morning ever. I got free lunch and an official Spelling Bee Judge certificate in Thai after signing off on 10 different papers that said I was a fair and honest judge in Thai. I hope to be asked to do this again real soon.