5 ways to teach an old teacher new tricks.

Its been no secret that Emmy has dyslexia. Our struggles with the school has also not been a secret. You can just read our dyslexia story for the whole ugly history.

This year I noticed a difference right away. In both Emmy and her teacher. I'll admit before school started I was cautiously optimistic that we'd have a good year. Emmy had been working all summer on techniques to help her. I felt like we had made some progress. She has a new teacher this year. Not just new to her but a NEW, fresh out of college, only 1 year under her belt, teacher.  This may make some parents nervous. Because, how can a new teacher possibly have the skills to handle a class the way an experienced teacher can.

I started the year off like I have every year since we've known she has trouble. I introduce myself to the teacher, give her my business card with my cell number on it and stress to call me with any issue big or small that her dad and I while yes we are divorced are both VERY involved and will not hesitate to help. I also handed her Emmy's dyslexia test and results and a list of accommodations that the dyslexia specialist suggested (none of them cost anything). I left it at that.

I started noticing that She was following the important accommodations. Like limiting her spelling words and then increasing the amount as she improves, not basing her fun Friday on the number of books and AR tests she takes. I have a deep hatred for AR testing anyway. Her teacher was showing signs of really listening. We all have the same goal and I'm glad we are seeing that. The results with Emmy is that she now looks forward to going to school. She got a B on her first test and an A on a spelling test. Her grades are where we want them to be. Her attitude is where we want it to be. I am overjoyed with how the year has started. Emmy has had a little issue with a girl in her class who said how are you doing so well you have dyslexia, she also talks really slow to Emmy. The teacher has handled issues like this as well. I tell Emmy the kids are doing this because they don't know what dyslexia is. Because society is taught that if you can't read you must be slow. That we are to educated people that poor spelling and low reading level means that you have trouble spelling and reading not that you are dumb and can't learn. Its a matter of changing public opinion. I admit I use to be judgey when I would see classmates work that looked like a 3 year old wrote it. I didn't know at the time that they may just have dyslexia.

So based on what I am seeing here are my top 5 ways a new teacher can teach an old teacher.

1. New teachers take chances. Its all chances to them, they don't know if something will work until they try it. But they try and keep trying. Older teachers seem to try until something fits and then stick with it, long after its stopped really working for everyone.

2. Lesson planning. Again, its all new to the new teacher so she/he is thinking about the individual kids not pulling out a plan they've been using for 20 years.

3. Teaching/learning is fun. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a tenured teacher say I just don't care anymore, I'm tired of fighting, or I just put my time in and go home. I would be rich and could think about retirement. New teachers are still excited and full of passion.

4. They are current on new trends/techniques. If PD's in most schools are like the schools around here its mostly the school telling you, you need this and even if it doesn't actually relate to you or your subject you have to do it.

5. New teachers haven't given up on the system yet. They still believe the state department of Ed has their best interest at heart, they still believe in their super and their principals. They haven't gotten burnt out on "teachers who can't do the job being promoted to the board office because you can't fire them"

I hope Emmy continues to have a good year. I hope her teacher never loses her drive and her passion, I hope old teachers realize that they are still making a difference and parents notice the difference.

In remembrance of 9-11 Abbey's middle school had an elaborate display set up outside. We aren't allowed to stop in the drop off lane except to let the kids out, so Abbey snapped a few pics as I was driving. Its not really clear but there is a fireman, a field with debris, the pentagon, and the towers are smoking. I have no idea how they did all of this, but it is amazing.




2 comments

  1. Aw I'm glad she's having a good year! I agree, I think with new teachers it's they way they were taught. Older teachers just weren't schooled on learning issues like dyslexia. Even though she's young, she's probably more equipped to handle it because she's learned about it and how to teach differently to different students.
    You should tell the teacher how pleased you are with her, nothing makes you work harder than positive reinforcement!

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  2. Hopefully this will keep up! I am glad she got a new teacher, who is willing to listen to the parents and try out a few new things. Great to hear Emmy enjoys going to school now, that probably also helps a big deal.

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