Skip to main content

When the teacher calls your child "stupid"

When my brother Gary was a young lad attending public school, the teacher called in my mother for a conference.
"Mrs.. Simpson, I don't know what to do with Gary," the teacher said. "He's stupid."
Gary wasn't stupid, of course. He was just one of those students who might have been called special needs in our current education system. But he didn't have special needs. He just needed to be taught differently.
There was no help for kids like Gary back in the 60s.
Fortunately for him, he majored in perseverance.
Gary is a rower and a marathon runner. He doesn't give up even when faced with adversity.
His struggle did one thing. It made him dogged, and as a result of his sheer pig-headed determination, he went on to get his undergrad degree and a masters. He is now a principal in London, Ontario who works with kids with ADHD and other learning issues. A few years back, he was named principal of the year in London. Our family could not be more proud.
My own son, Nicholas, also struggled with myriad learning issues and developmental delays.
Despite having a house full of books, Nick couldn't read at all in first grade. Heck, he could barely talk.
His lack of literacy made him a teacher's scapegoat. He became frustrated and acted out.
As he himself will tell you, Nick had his own special corner of the classroom because he was so disruptive.
It's not that Nick was "stupid". Like his Uncle Gary, he just needed to be taught differently. So I hired a tutor and used a phonetic program I'd bought online. Within weeks, he was reading at an advanced level, up from not reading anything at all. And like Uncle Gary, being the class scapegoat toughened him up and made him determined. Today, he is the author of two books and has more than 4,000 followers on his Wordpress blog, Retcon Poet.
Not bad for an illiterate, eh?
Not every kid, or parent has the resources to move the rocks put in front of them.
A lot of kids just drop out altogether, and their parents simply give up.
But they don't have to.
Which leads me to my guest blog today written by my friend and former Carleton University classmate, Tom Berend. Tom and his wife Michelle have dedicated hours of their time to help kids in Toronto to learn to read. He has a unique perspective on the issue. If you know any kid who needs help, I urge you to read this blogpost below.
I wish I'd had this resource when Nick was small. It would have saved me a lot of grief.

http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/can-your-child-blend-and-segment

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ashley Simpson: Against All Odds

  Statement from the Father of Ashley Marie Simpson December 6, 2021 On April 16, 2016, our 32-year-old daughter Ashley Simpson vanished into thin air from her home in Salmon Arm, B.C. It wasn’t like Ashley. She took to Facetime every day to speak to my wife Cindy and her friends. It was more than a week before her boyfriend called Cindy. We knew something was terribly wrong, and so a contingent of her family and friends hit the road in hopes of finding her. When we arrived, it was clear that no one was looking for her. She had only recently moved to the Silver Creek community, and local residents were distressed to find a small but vocal group of strangers converging on them, bringing the police to their doors. We encountered many roadblocks, and some individuals who were determined to lead us off track in our search. Our team was inconsolable at the thought of returning to our home in Niagara-on-the-Lake without finding a trace of Ashley. But we never gave up, and retur

Ashley Simpson: Conversation with Derek Favell Revealed

  On April 2, 2017, a family friend of Ashley Simpson opened her Facebook Messenger and got the surprise of her life.  Cathy MacLeod had been trying to correspond with Ashley's boyfriend, Derek Favell, who was the last person to see the St. Catharines native before she disappeared from her home in Salmon Arm, B.C. a year before. She wanted to know more about what happened to Ashley, and why Favell had refused to take a polygraph test when many others close to the missing woman agreed to do so. "I wanted to poke the bear," she said, and sent several messages to Favell pleading with him to talk to her.  " Please help us," she wrote. "It's been 10 months of pure hell. A lie detector would help if you have nothing to hide. I beg of you, help us, take the test to clear your name if there’s nothing to hide." Many, including members of the Simpson family, found Derek's behaviour, at least, curious. Ashley had disappeared on April 27, 2016. Yet it took

Katrina Blagdon: Somebody knows

If Katrina Blagdon inexplicably walked off to end her life, only she would know why. Friends and family might have mentioned to the police that she was depressed or in despair. But those haven't been the words that have been used to describe her. She was looking forward to returning home to Nova Scotia. She had just spent time with her boys. She had been chirpy and happy -- her usual demeanour -- on her posts on Facebook. Katrina was an open book, according to all who knew her. She wasn't a drug addict or mentally ill. She was a seasoned soldier who had seen it all on a tour of Afghanistan. She settled in St. Catharines to start her civilian life as a homeowner with savings and was the proud owner of a lime green Jeep. No. Katrina did not off herself. She did not accidentally fall into Martindale Pond during a brisk midnight walk around her neighbour. And it seems unlikely that if she were planning her own demise that she would be having a submarine sandwich with her boyfriend