But that is the way we teach spelling. “It just is,” we say. “Get used to it.”
With all due respect to math teachers, I say that the ability to spell correctly is as important as squares and square roots, as important as algebra. Yet we expect math teachers to be fully competent in their field and science teachers to know their subject thoroughly. But spelling teachers are not expected to even be good spellers.
When I enrolled in teacher training college (all those many years ago), I was not given a spelling test. None of my courses were about teaching spelling. Nobody taught us the spelling rules. I was not given any kind of spelling test before I graduated and went off to teach, among other things, spelling.
Things have not changed much since those days. In North America, there is no teacher training institute that teaches the spelling rules or tests the spelling ability of its students before they graduate. It’s rather like training life guards and not checking on whether or not they can swim.
Naturally, thousands of English teachers are good spellers. They take pride in their spelling skill and try to pass it on to their students. At the same time, all too many teachers have serious problems with spelling, and even some boast about the fact that they never were good at spelling. And they are supposed to teach spelling. What is the solution? These teachers can begin by purchasing my new book, How to Teach English Spelling.