As stated on the front page of the Panda Spell website, I have decided to suspend spelling coaching as of August 1, 2020.
I have contemplated this decision for a long time. Spelling coaching has been a fascinating, exciting, and fulfilling field. I have worked with over 50 students, and have seen many of them qualify for Scripps. A few achieved high enough rankings that they were worthy of the trophy; with the tables tipped slightly, they could have easily taken top honors. Each of them learned a tremendous amount as well, and it has been my privilege to help them become not just better spellers, but better students and better individuals as a whole.
But in recent years, younger coaches have begun to dominate the field – coaches who are often immediate past spellers. For them, the thrill of the bee is still so fervent, so immediate. In comparison, I am the spelling coach equivalent of an uncool dad – I even admitted as such in my post after Scripps 2019. It feels like my time to step aside.
Though my love of spelling coaching and of the bee may have waned, my love of language and words has not. I still intend to put my command of English to good use. I love to witness language elegantly deployed, whether in print or spoken, and I will continue to work to see this happen. Having an eagle eye for errata has opened up the realms of proofreading and copy editing. Working as a pronouncer for Spelling Bee of China and the North America Spelling Champion Challenge has opened up the possibility of voice-over work or narration. I may even begin to tend my own garden, however figuratively or literally, like another famous spelling coach.
Best of luck to all coaches and spellers for the 2020-21 season, and happy spelling!