Hi readers! Today I am sharing the pen with someone who has first-hand experience working with students who have dyslexia. She has shared with me numerous times about how these students have changed the way she looks at learning differences, so I asked her to share a bit of her story with you as well.
Hello, sweet readers! I am so honored to be invited to share a little bit of my story with you all today.
I am a seasoned educator with over 18 years of experience both in the classroom and in school leadership. Some of my educational roles include new teacher mentor, curriculum developer, professional development specialist, and most importantly, a teacher. I have spent many years honing my craft and have been known to say that I have seen it all when it comes to education. I consider myself an expert. Well, this past year I realized that even self-proclaimed experts have something to learn-especially when it comes to how children think and process information.
Last year, my dear friend came to me with a problem. The independent school where she works was in need of additional support in their program. Covid had reared its ugly head and like all schools, hers was desperately searching for more professionals to support the online, in person, and hybrid learners. I can’t say no to a student in need, so I agreed to teach 3 English classes to students with dyslexia.
Today I want to spend some time talking about some things I learned during my time with these amazing students.
- People with dyslexia are usually more creative and have a higher level of intelligence. These amazing kiddos are fascinating. Both of my students are talented and gifted artists that absolutely communicate big ideas through their art. They taught me to look for that, and it has made me a better communicator.
- Dyslexia is way bigger than letter reversal, although sometimes writing can be a stumbling block for these learners. They taught me that writing is never a one size fits all skill and that sometimes less really is more.
- Because these friends often think or process things differently, it can be hard to maintain friendships. But, my goodness are they fiercely loyal once they connect with you. They taught me how important it is to really take time to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Their academic lives are far from easy, but they persevere with grit and determination.
- Sometimes it is essential for students with dyslexia to have different ways to show understanding. They taught me that sometimes it is important to think outside the box when assessing students.
- Teachers can absolutely learn from their students. I left last year a better, more empathetic, and well-rounded educator simply because I had the privilege of working with students with dyslexia.
In summary, I learned that dyslexia is intricate and different from person to person. I learned that although learning differences can have commonalities, it is important to understand that it may challenge students in different ways.
Thank you Jan for inviting me to share with your readers. I appreciate all of the work you do raise awareness and support for those with learning differences.