Note: As the start of a new school year is upon us I thought it would be a good time to something I was asked to write several years ago on my experiences of growing up with a learning disability. Speaker presenting workshops for teachers used this.
Do you remember the kid in grade school that the other kids (and sometimes the teachers) called dummy? You know the one who always seemed a little different. Maybe he/she read funny or his/her work was always messy. Well maybe he/she wasn’t dumb, but he/she was lazy, at least that is what the teacher(s) always said. Besides his/her, work was always messy so he/she couldn’t have really tried or even cared about school. It was OK to call him/her dumb because that is the way the teachers treated him/her. Have you ever wondered what happened to the class dummy since graduation probably not much, right? After all, the teacher always said he or she would never amount to anything. Besides what could one of those losers really have accomplished anyway? Read the rest of the letter (I dare you). Besides what do you have to lose? It might even make you feel good to see how much better you are doing than the class dummy.
In I school I remember seeing a motivational film and the speaker said something to the effect that what you are in high school is what you will be the rest of your life. I didn’t believe him then; in fact I was determined to prove him wrong. You see I was the kid everyone called dumb. I was the outcast. You know, the one whom everyone made fun. Most teachers called me lazy and allowed me to slip through their classes never really challenging me. Most never bothered to find out why I had such a hard time writing or spelling. My achievement tests scores and IQ were well above average but I was placed with the slow learners. Guess I did deserve to be called lazy by the teachers–after all I had a few annoying habits i.e. sticking a book in my text book and being able to continue my personal reading while the class was reading or discussing something else at the same time. I could even keep up with both stories. In addition, I was constantly fidgeting and playing with something but I usually knew the answers if the teacher bothered to ask me.
Well, after high school, I went to college and even graduated with a 3.10 GPA. Guess it did take me a little longer than some people to graduate. It took me five years to complete all 152 required hours (with no electives). While in college, I was involved in a Campus ministry, club and church activities. One year I was even asked to serve on the steering committee for the World Awareness Week. Oh, I almost forgot, I was also asked to take a qualifying test for MENSA.
After college, I taught for five years before going to graduate school. During that time, I served on the Campus and District Leadership Teams, and I was a lead teacher. It was during this time I took a reading and learning styles test. The results indicated that there were no known proven methods for teaching me to read and that I shouldn’t have been able to read above a fifth grade level. Gee, maybe that is why I would later have such a hard time with foreign languages.
Graduate school was difficult and long. It took me five and half years to complete the 90 plus required hours for a Master’s degree. It didn’t help much that most of the classes were two hours rather than three or four hour classes. The first three and half years were the hardest. During that time, I was teaching full-time and going to grad school full-time. It was hard to get up for 7:00 a. m. classes, teach all day, go to class again until nine or ten and then study until two or three a. m.
You told me I was stupid. You said I couldn’t do anything right and I never would amount to anything. I guess you were right because since high school graduation I haven’t done much I’ve just earned both a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Divinity. I taught for over 10 years. Oh, I have also developed a computer curriculum for kindergarten through sixth grades. Recently I have even started writing on the side. I know it isn’t much but you see I have dysgraphia, dyslexia, and ADHD; it slows me down a little. So what have you done since high school?
The Class Dummy