Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Looks

Being a Canadian I have come to accept that Microsoft Word does not acknowledge the Canadian spelling of certain words: behaviour, humour, centre, cheque, colour, etc. I have come to terms with Words inability to represent Canadians. I no longer view the red wiggly lines as an error, but rather a homage to my Canadian heritage.

You can imagine my surprise when I was editing one of my assignments for class and noticed that my professor had singled out the same error on one of my Canadian words. I decided to ask one of my roommates to confirm the error and it turns out that for years I had been spelling the word author – as authour – what I perceived to be Canadian spelling.

How could I have gone so long thinking that the word author was spelt authour? I have completed a high school diploma, 4 years of undergraduate studies, and now in my final months at teachers college my language professor spots an error in the word author in my 30 plus page Litfolio.

Something about my teacher’s willingness to read all my work got me thinking.

Within the past five years or so there has been a big push on developing a green lifestyle or a green mentality. You may have heard about Earth Hour, re-useable grocery bags, energy saving light bulbs, and other green initiatives. I have been trying my best to do the re-useable grocery bag thing, but it can be really tough. I will often forget my bags at home and will struggle with the decision to go back and get my bags or just buy plastic ones. Needless to say I am starting to feel like my actions aren’t really helping our planet.

As far ask I know I think our Ozone Layer is disappearing, but I had learned my lesson earlier in the week with my new favourite (note the Canadian word usage) word author (note the normal spelling). I was under the impression that our Ozone was still around our planet, but it had massive holes in it. Living in a house of educators I was able to go to one of my roommates who dealt with the Ozone Layer in their Science classes and asked if our Ozone Layer still exists.

To my surprise she said that our Ozone Layer still existed as a shield with holes around the planet and that recently there has been talk about the holes in the Ozone repairing themselves. Maybe our actions are helping the planet after all.

I feel like our planet is so big and I wonder how my actions will ever create change. I thought back to earlier in the week when my professor sat looking at my 30 page document searching for errors to help me with my writing. What she had uncovered was a spelling error that I had been making for over 10 years. My teacher could have easily just skimmed my work and assigned a grade, but instead she gave me her full attention and helped me to correct an error I had been making for years.

My teacher gave me a "new look" on how to spell the word author. My misspelling may have gone on for another 10+ years if she hadn't spotted it. Her efforts have inspired me to develop a "new look" on how I see my role in helping our planet. I trust that my actions and the actions of others will help to correct our home for centuries to come.


Riccardo Lo Monaco said...

interesting perspective and connection there Sean. I'm pretty sure that 'Canadian spelling' and the o-zone layer have never quite been associated in this way before but I can appreciate the way you have juxtaposed the two to show how a problem is only as big as we imagine it to be - and especially as educators, this is an inspiring story about how we NEED to pay attention to our students. Teaching is not just a job. Teaching is a responsibility. Just as your prof has now changed your life by pointing out a simple spelling mistake, it's on our shoulders now to help others expand their horizons and make improbably connections like you just did... and sometimes it'll happen when we least expect it... when we point out what we thought was obvious.

Anonymous said...

aIt is the Butterfly in action. A Butterfly flaps it wings in North Bay and a man is called to action to help make a difference in the world. We are all connected through our actions, our thoughts, and even our inaction. The smallest action makes a difference, imagine the possibilities if everyone realized the power that evern the littlest actions could make. Imagine how we could change the world if we realized that we don't need to sit back and wait for someone to sweep in with big solutions, but instead add all of of our small actions and solutions together.


Nickname unavailable said...


Another great post. I love the underlining message: that any change, no matter how small, is significant. I think it is time for people to become accountable for their actions. For people to realize that they have the ability to change someone or something (like the environment) for the better.

I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

"Human action has not woven the web of life: we are but a thread in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." Chief Seattle (1786 - 1866)