There are many people who write about various facets of the bee. Journalists, former participants, former champions, current participants, sometimes a TV viewer who happened to stumble on the bee being broadcast on ESPN. I have read many of these blog posts and articles, but I've never written one myself until today. One topic I never really see discussed, and that I thus wanted to explore in my first post, is why the bee is still important for many reasons.
Critics of the bee spout reason after reason why they think that spelling bee is no longer relevant and ought to be discarded. On the other hand, those who understand the bee's importance don't often talk about why. There are many reasons why the bee is not only still relevant, but an important part of both our history and current society. So, I am turning this in to a multi-part post and covering the first two reasons here.
So, reason #1 why the spelling bee is still important: it is a nearly unparalleled way for students to develop a strong work ethic. To be successful in the highest levels of the national bee, it takes years of careful preparation. One must spend hours each day learning new words, learning their definitions, learning roots, learning language patterns, et cetera. Doing this all on top of regular schoolwork (which all bee competitors do indeed have, just check the eighth eligibility rule on the Scripps National Spelling Bee's website) definitely teaches you to manage your time well and work hard. No matter how far technology advances, hard work is always going to be a timeless skill, and the bee is a great way to learn that skill at a relatively early age.
Reason #2: Vocabulary. Most people will get through life just fine without actually spelling words like "bewusstseinslage" or "blouwildebeesoog," but the bee also requires understanding of vocabulary. Knowing more words and their meanings will aid you in writing, in conversation, in almost every part of life that even vaguely involves language. Now that I am ineligible, the vocabulary skills I learned in the bee still help me all the time, even in places I wouldn't necessarily expect. Vocabulary helps me when I'm taking standardized tests at school, reading a book for fun, or even talking to a friend about their knee problems.
More reasons to come in the next post.