Mark went to a small private school where he was struggling academically. Unfortunately, his teacher did not have the background or training to help Mark succeed and grew frustrated with him. One morning, Mrs. Doe moved Mark’s desk to the corner and explained to him that he was never going to get it. She told him that she had tried “everything and nothing works. You are simply un-teachable.” Since Mark “just could not learn” he was to sit at a desk in the corner and not “disrupt the other learners.”
Hearing these types of stories, I feel infuriated. I jump to judgment, characterizing this teacher as a bad person. A cruel person, really. But she’s not. Remembering to take a breath, I shift my perspective and as my anger dissolves, I feel overwhelming sadness. You see, no teacher begins teaching ill intentioned. We come into this field with dreams of molding young minds and helping children grow into thoughtful, productive adults. Unfortunately, this particular teacher was unable to help Mark and therefore, she likely felt she had failed him because he was failing. She’s frustrated and heartbroken in her own right.
Thankfully, he later received conclusive testing and was diagnosed with dyslexia. He now gets the appropriate therapy and accommodations to help him thrive. When I met Mark he was intelligent, confident, and most importantly, happy. A caring adult did ask, “Could it be Dyslexia?” and Mark benefited tremendously. It is in these moments that I feel grateful for our community of advocates, teachers, parents and dyslexics who work so diligently to raise awareness. We are helping students and teachers become more effective and confident in their roles.
In our last blog post, we highlighted Ed’s story. I want to follow that ‘call to action’ story with one of gratitude and hope. A few years ago, another Alabama advocate told me that the hardest aspect of advocacy is hope. He said, “No one wants to jump into a puddle of gloom and doom.” He is absolutely right, and with our movement, I feel blissfully optimistic. I am optimistic that we can expand our intervention strategies to not only help students but teachers as well, that we are compassionate for students and teachers, a like. So, in this month of gratitude, I would like to say thank you for hope.
About the author: Lydia Price is a Barton Certified instructor at Read Write Baldwin County. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Hollins University and is currently pursuing the Associate level Certification from the Academy of Orton Gillingham. When she's not working on professional development, Lydia enjoys a good barbecue, laying in the hammock with a book, and visiting with friends.