Would you believe that I couldn't read until I was in 7th grade? You would think someone would have caught on... Right? If it was a word I could easily sound out, (meaning no words that had stupid laws like "I" before "E" or two letters like "p" and "h" coming together to make an "eff" sound) I could read it. But other than that... I was completely illiterate.
If you would have told me (even after learning how to read) that I would one day want to be a writer, I would have for sure rolled my hormonal teenage eyes at you, called you crazy and then asked you if you read my 6 page crap of a senior paper. Me and English...didn't mix. Even today I still struggle with it terribly. I'm the worst speller in the world and grammar? Forget it. Thank god (or maybe Bill Gates) for Microsoft Word for the ability to spell-check and check my grammar, or you would never be able to understand my blog posts. Today this is still something I'm completely self-conscious about. I hate reading in front of others for fear that I may have to sound out a word... I mean who sounds out words at 29? No one I know!
At a young age I was diagnosed with dyslexia. My test scores were getting worse, however I knew the stuff. One day a teacher gave me a science test verbally and I got almost every single answer correct. I pretty much sucked at everything. I hated school. I felt beyond inadequate and completely stupid and that label "special Ed" was plastered to my forehead. Teachers did their best to help, but for some reason...I just couldn't get it!
Luckily, I have an amazing mom who would fight for me each year to get the help I needed. She knew I could do more, I just needed someone who would teach me the way I needed to be taught. You see, IEP's have come a long way since I was in school. My mom had to work at getting me an IEP... now-a-days, EVERYONE has one.
In 7th grade I had the opportunity to be put in a class with other 7th graders just like me. This was not something I wanted because it just further confirmed that I was not as smart as the rest. However, this teacher turned out to be the only person in 12 years to really understand how my brain worked and she taught me the way I needed to be taught.
Though this teacher wasn't always the nicest person to be around, and would sometimes see a chair flying across her room (NO JOKE), she "got it"! She knew how to reach a part of our brains that other teachers got frustrated with. She knew we needed to be repetitive about our learning, and do it until we got it. She cared about us succeeding, and for that I'm more grateful to her than she will ever know.
Like all issues, until you go through it you just don't get it. This teacher not only changed my life by teaching me how to read, she made me acknowledge that I could do it. Without her, who knows where I would be today. I'm sure it would be the farthest place from this blog.
Two weeks ago I saw her in a Target. However, I just kept walking. Oh how I wish I had stopped her to see how she was and tell her what an impact she made on my life. I wish I had told her that I am able to write today because she invested her time in me and believed in me more than I believed in myself.
My SIL encouraged me to write her a letter. I guess maybe this is my first step in that direction. I hope I get a second chance to tell her how much she meant to me.