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Is there room for an educator with a learning disability?


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Joined: Mar 22, 2007
Posts: 1
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Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 9:26:52 PM
Subject: Is there room for an educator with a learning disability?

I am currently completing my master’s degree in secondary education at a private school which is known to be an excellent college for preparing new teachers. (NCATE certified) I was born with dyslexia and a few other learning disabilities. While the effects of my disability may have weakened over the years, they are still apparent. My disability is a secret to the college and my friends. I probably work three times as hard to earn the same grades as my colleagues and some times wonder if I am fooling myself that I can offer the same level of education as my classmates. I have earned the right to be in the schools graduate program. I have earned a grade point average of 3.56.in my course work. I am now in the fight of my life. I am currently taking a class which focuses on teaching social studies for grades 7-12. My professor is an adjunct who teaching this one class and believes it is her mission to weed out all individuals who do not meet her requirements. She does not present a clear path when introducing her methods and expects every one to understand her lesson the first time only. My reason for success is that I have learned from my failures, but this time there is no practice session to hone my skills. You either sink or swim when giving one lesson plan. Today I sank. I gave it 110% and she not only failed me but insulted me in front of my classmates. Am I not supposed to succeed in my endeavors? What happens when I get out of college? Will I be an effective educator or will my learning disability always be there, whispering in my ear that success is for those whose minds are not afflicted with this curse. Living with this dirty secret makes me feel unsettled but what it the alternative? Who would hire me even if I graduated with honors? I am pretty sure the professor who is teaching this course wouldn’t.

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
Posts: 265

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Posted:Mar 23, 2007 1:03:57 AM

Hi Stac,
You'll be one those teachers that has some understanding of students with learning difficulties. That doesn't immediately accuse a student of being lazy and not trying hard enough. That doesn't use humilation as the solution?
A teacher that parents can actually talk to. That recognises that students learn in different ways. So you'll be one of the more effective teachers!
Yet your LD's will always be in the back of your mind, making you try harder.
Which in fact, many people with LD's see as an asset. As their normal way of working, is to always put in some extra effort.
Qualities that any employer would value.
Though you also wrote: "Living with this dirty secret makes me feel unsettled but what it the alternative?"
Where I would raise a question about whether it is now time to stop living with this secret?
As trying to 'keep it secret' will be more of a problem, than your actual LD's.
I would also question your use of the term 'Learning Disability', where the word: Disable means Unable. Which is most often a wrong conclusion.
Where it is in fact, a 'Learning Difference'. Where the problem with your professor, is clearly a lack of understanding, of your 'way of learning'.
But on the other hand, you are keeping your way of learning, a secret?
Where in hiding your LD's, you are also hiding your strengths?
Not too many years ago, people used to try and hide being 'left-handed'.
So maybe it's time to 'come clean'and stop carrying around the heavy weight of this secret?
Geoff,

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fourthechildren
Joined Apr 07, 2007
Posts: 3

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Posted:Apr 07, 2007 7:08:50 PM

Dear Stac,

Of course there is room for an outstanding teacher who happens to to be dyslexic with other LD. If you are asking will the education community welcome you with your disablity? I don't think anyone can answer that or should. I too I'm dyslexic with many other LD gifts. Do i think it will be hard yes. But you already know that, be patient with your peers if you do teach they have so many misconceptions. Yes , I teach some days are good some days are bad. I have had hurtful things said to me still today after 10 years of teaching. You'll be outstanding beleive in yourself. As for the professor I have many of those also, don't give her another thought she must not feel very good. I know that does not make you feel but believe me its true. I wish you all the luck.

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jnuttallphd
Joined Jan 11, 2004
Posts: 64

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Hello Stac:
I would encourage you to explore ways in which you can compensate for your learning disabilities. As a person with dyslexia and learning disability I have found technology and assistance to be the most important asset in being successful. You will need all the supports you can get as you do your teaching career.
For example there is RECORDING FOR THE BLIND AND DYSLEXIC that records textbooks.
There are also all kinds of additional technologies that can help a person read. I use them frequently. For example reading web sites I use a browser plug-in TextAloud from www.nextup.com
There is also voice recognition software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking that can help you with writing. I'm using that software to post this message.

I encourage you to pursue your goal of teaching.

James Nuttall -- Michigan

Jim -- Michigan www.geocities.com/jnuttallphd

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Goodysbaby
Joined Nov 03, 2004
Posts: 59

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Posted:May 02, 2007 9:32:59 AM

Stace,

You have to remember once you are in a classroom you will have the support of team teachers, mentors, etc., to help you when you feel overwhelmed or insecure. One professor may not know what they are doing at all times, have they taught previously? What experience do they have teaching college level classes? Sometimes we take things so personal without looking at the person who is judging.

As far as, if you should let the professor know if you are LD. Do you have an academic skills center/learning support or disabilities officer at your campus that could help in this situation? If you are registered they can send out accommodation letters. They letters do not list the disability only the accommodations that you need.

I guess you would need to be more specific about why this instructor did not find your plans sufficient. Was it the writing of the plans - do you have a writing center on campus that could help?

Also, I would talk to the professor directly. Find out what you were missing and how to correct the problem. I am assuming your semester is almost up, do not take the professor again if you feel they are not doing the job you need them to do. Maybe they were having a bad day. Once you talk to them if you feel comfortable you could let him know.

I have set in interviews hiring educators as a parent and staff. I don't know of anyone who has been judged because the questions doesn't come up in interviews. They listen to the answers to questions about situations, discipline, classroom management, goals, and love of teaching.

The best teachers are those who are sensitive to their students needs not if someone else can read and understand their lesson plans. The buildings I have been in teams write their plans together to make sure the education the students are receiving are consistent throughout the grade level, district, etc.,

Shel If your not kicking hard enough your not making waves!

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