Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, October 02, 2008

For the Love of Typing

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Several years ago, when I was in ninth grade, I took a typing class. I wasn’t a great student, but I was trying. It wasn’t a computer keyboard, (and I’m dating myself here) but it was a real typewriter and it wasn’t easy! Even though I thought I was putting forth a good effort, I had the feeling that my teacher didn’t like me, from the glowering looks she occasionally shot my way. I couldn’t figure out why, but I started to really dread that class. Then, I broke my hand playing hockey, and thought that I could get out of typing class. I cheerfully showed my glowering teacher my hand, casted and decorated by my friends and asked what I should do, fully expecting she would tell me to go to the library and read or something else that was more fun than typing. She didn’t. She sat me down and had me go over a book that talked about typing with one hand. One-handed typing.

Yeah, that was hard.

I was just starting to get the hang of it, but the year was coming to a close. I clearly remember the day of getting a paper right before parent/teacher conferences that showed my grade. I was getting 51%. Pretty much failing.

I was mortified. I had never failed a class in my life. I went to my teacher to talk about it and as I stood before her desk, I clutched the paper in my hand, hoping she wouldn’t glower at me. My hopes were in vain and she gave me the look I’d seen during many class periods, the one that led me to believe she didn’t like me. I soldiered on, however, showed her my grade and we talked about the injury, the assignments etc. At the end of the conversation I asked her if there was anything else I could do to raise the grade and she said, “If you promise to never take my class again, I will pass you.”

My humiliation was complete. It was confirmed to me in that moment that my assumptions had been correct---my teacher didn’t like me. For whatever reason, she didn’t want me in her class again. My ninth grade self cringed, but I agreed to her terms. However, that teacher and her comments stayed with me for years afterward. I was not a great typer, but because of that teacher and her comments I practiced. I wanted to prove to her that in spite of her words and actions, I could be great at typing. I practiced at home, and I practiced by seeing the keyboard in my head and typing words out mentally. I became proficient at typing, and then went further. My highest word per minute test ended up being close to 90 and I was happy with that. I felt like I’d showed something to that teacher and to myself. I was good at typing, no matter what she thought.

What brought this up today, you ask? The memory came back to me because I’ve been doing a lot of one-handed typing lately with the new baby and needing to do revisions on my book. It’s not quite as fast as two-handed typing, but I’m not too bad at it. And it’s much more fun to have to type with one hand because your other hand is busy cradling a new baby who smiles and coos up at you, rather than having to type with one hand because you broke the other one. But it does take a lot longer than normal, so that’s why this blog is going to be short today. Well, that, and the fact that I’d rather look at the sweet baby in my arm than a computer screen. Who wouldn’t?


At 10/02/2008 7:35 PM, Blogger Allison Hill said...

I had a teacher like that in 9th grade too! I walked in and told him my name, and he said, "Are you Rob Wells' sister?" and I smiled and said yes, and he stood up and glared at me and said, "Well if you're anything like your brother you can just walk back out that door and drop this class now!"

Yeah. Nice man.

At 10/02/2008 7:44 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

LOL Poor you! Out of curiosity, did that happen more than once being Rob's sister and all? ;)

At 10/02/2008 8:21 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Nice man? who? Rob or the teacher?

At 10/02/2008 8:37 PM, Blogger Danyelle Ferguson said...

I had a teacher in 10th grade who believe that if you weren't in honors English, then you had no future whatsoever. Seriously. She's stand at the front of the class and tell us we were all losers. I remember rewriting and rewriting and rewriting papers for her, only to get a mere C-. No one could please her. I finally just gave up and slept through the class. When she called my mom, my mother actually defended me (I mean heck, I had been on the high honor roll since 4th grade!). Anyway, my mom told the teacher it was her own fault for demoralizing her students.

Like you, I find it kind of funny to look back then, and compare it to the successful and wonderful like I have now - and my absolute love of writing. At least that awful teacher didn't kill that. :)

Thanks for the post. It brought back some fun memories.

At 10/02/2008 8:38 PM, Blogger Danyelle Ferguson said...

OK - I have so many spelling errors in that last post. Please ignore them and blame it on my cold medication. :)

At 10/02/2008 11:53 PM, Anonymous David Hostyk said...

I wrote a program for people who have pain when they move their hand. It's call Integrated Keyboarding and it is available at:
The user can move the mouse and cursor, highlight, scroll, drag, number and delete without moving the hands from the homekey position.


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