She enters the class. Sits next to a boy she doesn’t really like. But she can’t choose her place. Everybody is seated by the teacher. The teacher comes in. Everybody stands up. The teacher says: “Sit down.” The teacher announces that today they will write down what she dictates. The girl is scared but also excited. It’s her first dictate. She is in the first grade. She has practiced to write with her parents. She is sure she can do it well. The teacher gives everybody a sheet of paper. She says that everybody needs to take a pen. The girl needs to consider which is the right hand. She should do it right. She quickly remembers how her Grandmother was teaching her to hold a spoon in the right hand. So, she takes the pen in the correct hand. She has done it right. The teacher starts dictating words. The girl starts writing. Something feels strange. But she has no time to think. The teacher is repeating every word only twice. The girl keeps on. She stresses trying to write every word as good as she can. Not to mix c’s and d’s. To start every sentence with a capital letter. To start a person’s name with a capital letter. The teacher finishes and starts collecting the sheets. The girl is sure she did fine.
The next day the teacher comes to class with the corrected dictates. She starts telling about some common mistakes pupils made. The girl listens. She didn’t make any of the mistakes the teacher mentions. Then the teacher gives out the sheets. The girl gets her paper sheet. There is a red cross over her text and the mark 2. 2 is the worst mark one can get. The girl starts to shiver. She suppresses her tears. She tries to hide her emotions. She is so confused, so ashamed. Even the boy next to her got a 3 and he can’t even properly read. The teacher comes to her and shortly says that the girl has written everything from the wrong side. So, everything is wrong. The day is spoiled. The father comes to pick the girl up. The teacher has already told him. What would he say? She got 2. The worst possible mark. Nobody else got 2. Her father says it’s not so bad and even makes a joke about it. But the girl is very upset.
When they get home, her father places the girl’s paper against the mirror. He reads everything. There is no mistake. “You got everything right,” he says.