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Dyslexic teacher...reactions?

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by lordshine, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I am due to start a PGCE in September and have for along while thought that I have dyslexia, or atleast dyslexic tendencies. I am planning to visit the Dyslexia Support Unit of the university to be assessed as soon as I can when I join the course but was just wondering what kind of reaction there will be towards me from schools, placements etc?
    I only ask because I currently work in a faculty of health with dyslexic nurses, midwives etc and there is a very negative reaction from their placements and employers when this is disclosed.
    Am i worrying over nothing?
    I suspect that my dyslexia is less about my writing ability but more reading aloud, memory, getting out what I want to say...all very important aspects of being a teacher
  2. One of my friends is a dyslexic teacher and she had encountered some negativity, but her teaching speaks for itself, she's fantastic and makes great use of ICT to help her. She did get assistance from Uni - laptop, special software etc, but not sure if that is still available nowadays. Don't let it discourage you, she was quite open with the children about her spelling not always being perfect and I think they accepted it really well as she didn't mind them letting her know if they spotted something wrong.
  3. dolfrog

    dolfrog New commenter

    You need to identifywhich cognitive deficit or deficits cause your dyslexic symptom.
    Dyslexia is a man made problem, which has many underlying cognitive causes.
    currently the most informative research papers , and the most informative include :

    Cognitive subtypes of
    dyslexia. [Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2008]

    differentiation of stop consonants relates to reading and
    speech-in-noise perception.[Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009]
    search of a science-based application: A learning tool for reading

    : Jyv&auml;skyl&auml; 13 year Longitudinal study of Dyslexia (My PubMed Research
    Paper Collection)
    </h4> How
    do teachers in Ireland and England conceptualise dyslexia?.

    attention to reading: The neurobiology of reading and dyslexia
    early reading skills from pre-reading measures of dorsal stream
    </h4><h4>Reading for meaning
    in dyslexic and young children: distinct neural pathways but common
    endpoints. [Neuropsychologia. 2009]
    </h4>Leading dyslexia researchers research paper collections
    Katrin (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper Collection)
    Michel (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper Collection)
    Heikki (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper Collection)
    J. Snowling (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper
    Franck (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper Collection)
    E Shaywitz (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper
    Wai T (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper Collection)
    John F (Dyslexia) Research papers (My PubMed Research Paper Collection)
    </h4>you might also find some useful information at CiteULike the online Research Paper bookmarking facility.
    <h4>CiteULike: Group: Dyslexia -
    library currently 171 articles
    </h4><h4>CiteULike: Group: Audiology
    and Auditory Processing Disorder - library 102 articles



  4. Hi,
    I've been teaching for 7 years now, and was diagnosed as dyslexic when I was 10.
    I have had issues with my dyslexia as a teacher - almost entirely focussed on difficulties I have organising numbers. I often make errors on data analysis, timetabling and general organisation.
    I have had no issues in the classroom as a teacher. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time and I have found not only that the children don't care - but they actually look to 'trip me up' in a good natured way with spellings and maths etc. In this sense being dyslexic hs been an advantage. Furthermore, I find an empathy with children who try hard but have barriers to learning.
    Being a dyslexic is a BONUS for a (primary) classroom teacher.

    However, I have not disclosed my issue with any of the schools I have worked at, from fear of a negative response (especially on application forms!). Of the 3 schools I have worked at, one school was a complete nightmare. The head was extreemly pedantic and prioritised paperwork far above classroom practice. She wasnt my biggest fan...
    The other two schools clearly prioritise teaching, relationships and ethos far above spotless paperwork etc. They have been a joy to work in.
    In short, I would heartily advise you to weigh up a school carefully. Visit. You should be able to tell quickly if there is a 'buzz' about the place. This is a school to go for. If you get the impression that the head is cold and doesnt seem to be as enthused about children and teaching as she is abot controlling teaching and children, steer clear. Sadly these head 'teachers' do exist.
    This isn't just advice for dyslexic NQT's either...
  5. I believe it is every child's right to have teachers who have good literacy and numeracy skills.
    Employing schools should have the right to know that a teacher has a disability that could affect impressionable young children in their formative years.
    Reading, writing and numeracy are such important skills, and these are fundamental for success in any other subjects studied in the future.
    I had the misfortune of being taught by a dyslexic adult ed teacher who misspelled my name on an exam entry form which created huge problems for me. I wasn't able to do my exam at the same time as everyone else.
    I also had the experience of working with a dyslexic teacher who taught job seeking and gave students handouts about how to write letters to employers that were full of spelling mistakes.
    I feel many parents would be alarmed to know that children are having to correct a teacher's spelling.
    It is both dishonest and selfish to be in that situation.

  6. i have dyslexia, and I have had no problems what so ever. Most children are not aware, and only those staff who need to know are aware... only because it is something I have, not what I am, so it's none of their business. IMO as long as you can do your job - and do it properly - then what is the problem. I rarely write in front of people, my work and planning is mainly ICT based and I always have someone to check my work when needed. I didn't do PGCE, I did GTP, then the school sponsored me to do my M.Ed (with disability support), got promoted to HoD within a year, and now promoted to SENCo - because I am a grafter and hard worker and rely on interpersonal skills. I am currently studying my next M.Ed through the county training and they have been nothing but supportive to help me. If you have excellent coping strategies then you may find that your style of teaching maybe more dynamic - because you have to. And I certainly don't have behavioural problems because my lessons are alot more interactive and discussion based than others. If you cannot do the job, then don't, if you can, then you will have a lot more to offer than people who teach to teach, and not teach to learn. OK, rant over.
  7. Dyslexia impacts on different people in different ways. It doesn't mean that all people with dyslexia cannot spell properly and therefore, I actually find rekerr67's comments somewhat disrespectful and narrow-minded.

    Many dyslexic people will have strengths elsewhere and the comment ?employing schools should have the right to know that a teacher has a disability that could affect impressionable young children in their formative years? makes it sound like dyslexic teachers are some kind of potential predators.

    I can remember being humiliated at grammar school by an English teacher who made me read my poem out aloud ? the whole class laughed, encouraged by the teacher. I vowed never to do that to any child. Out of 15 GCSEs, English was my worst (B grades in English language and English literature). I never really understood why I found so many aspects of reading and writing so difficult and I still feel somewhat frustrated that I cannot express myself as easily in writing as I want to. A lot of answers came to light when I was picked up as dyslexic after graduation. With minimal support in place for my PGCE year, I have thrived as a teacher ? secured four promotions within eight years to become one of the most senior staff in my secondary school.

    My spelling and grammatical knowledge in English is fantastic ? I just have to work that bit harder. I teach German, French, Spanish and Italian and have Maths A Level - I think that means I have ?good enough literacy and numeracy skills?. I still cannot properly tell the time on an analogue clock so the only time it impacts on my job, is Y7 French and German when I have to teach time. Big deal.

    I have never disclosed the dyslexia on an application form as I feel that so many people are prejudiced against what that means, even people working in education which is perhaps the saddest part of it all. How can we raise the self-esteem of young people with any kind of learning difficulty if we cannot look beyond the stigma attached to a disability? Let?s at least take the time to find out what it actually means and how it impacts on that person before we make a judgment that they cannot spell.

  8. Hi germanlad,

    I just wanted to thank you for being so open and insightful about your dyslexia. I am in my fourth year of teacher training and was diagnosed with dyslexia two years ago. I had a rough time with my confidence in school despite getting 13 GCSEs all grades A and B. I now realize that all my dyslexia is to me is a different way of thinking, I am not stupid and I am an enthusiastic and creative teacher. I have experienced prejudice in school and cannot believe how ignorant (not necessarily to their own fault) people and teachers can be. I know how to spot signs early on and hope to prevent other children from having the horrible experiences in school so often experienced by dyslexic children.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!
  9. Rockchick2112

    Rockchick2112 New commenter

    There is no reason why you shouldn't train to be a teacher. As some of the other posters have pointed out, teachers with dyslexia can bring many positive qualities to the classroom- a particularly important one is the ability to empathise with pupils who are struggling. However, I think trainee teachers with conditions such as dyslexia can be particularly vulnerable to being criticised for things which are directly related to their condition, if they find themselves placed with an unsympathetic mentor on teaching practice. It is very easy for such a mentor to find things to pull apart where a student with disabilities is concerned, and of course when those things are related to the student's disability, it is not realistic to expect the student to be able to put those things right 'just like that', although some mentors don't seem to realise this (or even care). I was diagnosed with dyspraxia during my PGCE, largely due to having problems on teaching practice related to the condition. However, after the diagnosis my mentor did not adjust her approach towards me, but continued to criticise me for things I couldn't help. For example, she thought she was entitled to tell me to 'talk quicker' and also said that I should speak to parents and other members of staff in a 'business-like manner.' Anyone who knows anything about dyspraxia will know that dyspraxia very often has some kind of impact on the way someone speaks and moves, so saying things like that to someone with dyspraxia is unhelpful, unrealistic and actually discriminatory.
    On my course I met a few trainees who claimed to have dyslexia, but had never been diagnosed. Some of them got on really well, but there was one whose mentor deliberately made her life hell by ripping her planning to shreds. Whether you disclose dyslexia or not is up to you, but if you wanted to do so, you would need to have been officially assessed. If everything's all well and good on the course, then it will be of no benefit to officially inform anyone that you have dyslexia. However, if you have problems like I did, then the only way you will get the backing of disability support at your university (who, if it comes down to it, will help you stay on the course), you really need to have a diagnosis. My university tutors seemed to be hoping I would just withdraw, but it was as a result of disability services liaising with them that I was able to stay on the course.
  10. Thanks Traceybant!

    It is wonderful to know that there are people working in education who are forward thinking and open to understanding people's 'conditions'. I know that there are many people in education who are aware of and empathetic towards pupils and teachers with Dyslexia and I do not want this forum to come across as putting a downer on everyone in the profession. It is just important to spread the word to those who have not yet had the opportunity to have their eyes opened to these wonderful dyslexic practitioners and learners.

    Thanks again,

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