MARAPONG — World Teacher’s Day was celebrated across the globe on Friday 5 October and the day was followed by the 2018 spelling BEE Championships at UNISA main campus in Pretoria, where the great work of teachers was exhibited by their learners.
One of the contestants was 10-year-old Linda Seodisa, a Grade 5 learner at Nelsonskop Primary School in Marapong.
Linda is no stranger to spelling BEE championships. While in foundation phase last year, she already competed with participants in the intermediate phase.
She reached the finals but was eliminated in the early stages.
This year she reached the finals again and obtained position four during sudden death.
According to her trainer and teacher at Nelsonskop Primary School, Mrs MH Majadibodu, Linda’s ability is amazing for someone her age.
“She has so much interest in learning long and difficult words that she doesn’t concentrate much on short words, which were used in the finals.
“I am still amazed that she competed against learners who were far older than her last year.
“She did it again this year in Mokopane, competing in the Provincial competition and outclassing everyone as the youngest. A child at her age should usually be in Grade 4, but she is in Grade 5.”
Majadibodu says when the spelling BEE Championship starts, teachers are sent over 1 430 words to use in their scope.
From there learners in Grade 5 are selected to compete among themselves.
During that process Majadibodu works after hours and dedicates her own time to ensure her learners are up to speed with at least 80 words a week.
Majadibodu says it still impresses her that such a young learner would have the dedication to read and always work on new words that she, as a teacher, sometimes is not familiar with.
“During breaks, when other kids are playing, Linda will be working on something and when you ask her, she tells you that she found a new word during lunch that she wants to be able to spell.”
Linda obtained the first position at school level before going to Circuit, Palala Cluster, Waterberg District and eventually to the Provincial competition, which was held at Mokopane on 29 September 2018.
Mogol Post watched a video where Linda had to spell “upholstery”. In the second attempt she got it right with ease and confidence.
According to Mrs Majadibodu, Linda’s confidence distinguishes her from the others and it makes her stronger.
“During the competition she nailed words such as ‘bouleversant and chihuahua’ easily.
In the sudden death she was tasked to spell ‘aeronautic’ and that didn’t go down well, but I am proud of her,” she said.
Majadibodu further says Linda handled the results with maturity, even consoling other competitors who didn’t make it to the top three and promised her to come back in 2019 to be triumphant.
The 10-year-old told Mogol Post that she is happy to have reached the finals, and that she reads a lot of English books.
“I urge my peers to listen to their teachers, parents/guardians and respect school as education is the path to success,” said Linda.
The spelling BEE Championship saw Grade 4-6 learners compete for top honours and the crown of “Spelling Champion” as the nation’s top young spellers take each other on in the high-level competition.
According to the Department of Education, the competition is open to all schools in South Africa and encourages learners from all backgrounds to improve their levels in both literacy and numeracy.