When the letters of a spelled-out word are separated from each other by hyphens, black dots, stars, or spaces, in braille a hyphen is placed between the letters and, when necessary, a transcriber's note (to be studied later) is inserted to explain that the hyphens do not exist in print. Each upper case letter is capitalized individually and letter signs are not used. Examples:
|N O W!||M∗A∗S∗H|
Divide spelled-out words only at the end of a syllable. Do not divide a beginning or ending single-letter syllable from the rest of the word. Example:
Try the Drill in WESBraille.
Prepare the following exercise for submission to the instructor. As in previous lessons, the running head, LESSON 12, should appear on the first line of every page of the exercise. On the first page only, center the title of the story SCHOOL DAY on the third line. Leave a blank line between the title and the beginning of the text. Do not leave blank lines between paragraphs.
[Editors Note: WESBraille cannot handle this kind of exercise in multiple page formatting. This exercise will not be loaded at this time.]
It never would have happened to me if Miss Nellie Peabody, the pretty schoolmarm of Possum Hollow, hadn't suddenly eloped with Everett Stamp, the mail carrier for Route 3. This created a crisis in the Possum Hollow School, and in a weak moment I agreed to step into the breach and teach the entire school — all the way from kindergarten to grade a8.
My troubles began early. The children were all seated when Terence O'Shaughnessy came running through the door. I asked why he was late, and he answered in his broadest Irish brogue, "The batthery in me fayther's car was dead." I explained to Terence that the word is pronounced bat-ter-y, not bat-ther-y. But he, not the least bit convinced, glared at me as he took his seat, and snarled, “Divil a bit! That's the way me fayther says it, and me fayther is always right.”
I then proceeded with the calling of the roll. I had progressed from the A's through the M's when I became conscious of the fact that the back of the room was enveloped in clouds of smoke. I was frantically looking about to locate the safest exit through which to herd my charges when I discovered the source of the smoke. A huge hulk of a boy, about six feet, two inches tall, clad in blue overalls and a multi-colored T-shirt and wearing colossal brogans that looked to be at least size 12d, was slouching in his seat in the back row calmly smoking a corncob pipe.
“What do you mean by smoking in school?” I demanded.
“We-e-e-ell, I reckon a m-m-man kin have his m-m-mornin’ pipe,” he drawled. “Y’ know the m-m-mailman run off with the t-t-teacher, and my pa made me g-g-go clear into t-town and g-g-git the m-mornin’ paper so’s he c-c-could read the g-g-gossip. So th-thar w-warn’t t-t-time for my m-mornin’ p-p-pipe.”
“Well, you just put that foul-smelling thing out and do without your smoke for one morning,” I snapped.
“Okay,” he assented sullenly. “Some p-p-people t-treat you like a ch-child. I bin s-smokin’ my p-p-pipe since I was th-thirteen. Some f-folks oughta l-look out for th-theirselves ’steada b-bossin’ others ’round.”
After the smoke had cleared away I returned to my pedagogic duties, listening to the kindergarten contingent recite their ABCs. Even these little tykes seemed determined to test my patience to the utmost. Whenever little Luigi recited the alphabet he insisted on stopping at q. When I asked him why he did this, he replied, “But teachair, Q is for quit — I the-e-enk,” and the class roared with laughter. When we came to arithmetic I asked 1st-grade Judy how much 7 and 7 make, and she replied sweetly, “Theventy-theven, Mith Olthen,” and again the school rocked with laughter at my expense.
During that whole long day there was one fleeting moment of satisfaction. This happened during the 4th-grade spelling lesson. It became painfully apparent that the children were all having difficulty with words that contained both the letters "e" and "i." Finally, Al asked in desperation, “But how can we tell which comes first, Miss Olsen?”
“Al,” I replied, “one thing that will help is to remember this little verse: ‘When the letter c you spy, place the e before the i.’” After that, Al and the rest of the class as well had much less trouble.
About this time, noticing that the children were becoming restless, I announced we’d have a real spelldown — choosing up sides and everything. We started with easy words, and for a while things proceeded smoothly and without notable incident. But then it was Jimmy’s turn, and I gave him the word “frog.” “F-r—” began Jimmy. He hesitated and started over again. “F-r—f-r—” Jimmy appeared to be completely at sea. Just then I detected Tom reaching over and jabbing Jimmy with a pin, and Jimmy finished in a blaze of glory, “—o-g!” I ignored the prompting and went on.
Finally the field was narrowed down to just two survivors; Dorothy Stamp, a bespectacled, pony-tailed intellectual colossus, and little Percy Littlejohn, a precocious brat who always read with expression. (I could envision the day when Percy would be the announcer on the Possum Hollow radio station and would dramatically proclaim the virtues of K-9 dog toys and 2-dog leashes to an enthralled public.)
“Your word is sat-is-fies, Percy,” I said.
Percy spelled it with confidence: “S-a-t-i-s-f-y-s.”
“How do you spell it, Dorothy?” I asked, and she triumphantly spelled it correctly: “S-a-t- i-s-f-i-e-s.”
As I presented Dorothy with a new 3r game as the prize for being the A1 speller of the school, little Percy’s small world of conceit came tumbling down amid anguished howls and copious tears, and my little world of peace and tranquillity came tumbling with it.
At last that long day came to a close, and with it my country schoolteacher career was ended. As I stepped out into the bitter cold of that January 1935 afternoon my lips said “Br-r-r-r-r,” but my heart uttered a fervent “Thank God!” I was an older and wiser woman. I had learned three never-to-be-forgotten facts: (a) kids say and do the darnedest things, (b) patience is a virtue well worth cultivating, (c) a schoolteacher's life is anything but a bed of roses.