As the school year has come to a close, I have been reflecting upon the various options the parents of my students have had with regards to their child's education. Parents truly struggle with placing their children in the right learning environment where they will be happy, where they will learn, where the social and cultural aspects fit, and where they can afford to send them. Fortunately in New York City, there are many options, but those options can be a burden.
Children with dyslexia don't fit into any perfect box of a school quite frankly. Picture an extraordinarily bright child, who simply is lacking the ability to read intuitively. Oh, they have the ability to read, but need to be taught in a very systematic and structured way. They have wonderful ideas, and deep interesting thoughts. They are creative, they are funny, terrific members of the school community. But just don't fit the mold. So then what happens? They fall behind in their current school. Or, they need to fight to get into two schools in New York City where they would fit in in the sense that there academic deficits will be addressed. But what about their extraordinary talents and abilities? They are placated and under fostered, because too much time is needed to fill deficits.
And then there is me...I'm here for my students to teach them to read after school, before school, on the weekends, during the summer. Any other time than in the classroom. They are tired, they are cranky often. Even though I get hugs and high fives, I know they have worked a long day, and then need to work with me and put in 100 percent effort, so that they can keep up with with their grade. It's ironic that the smartest and most talented kids most likely are the ones that are forced to work even harder outside of the classroom just to stay afloat.
My kids are reading and have made huge progress this year. All of them. I am very proud of their hard work, determination, and drive. As much as they grumble and ask, " How many more minutes?", they are alway happy to see me and to see their progress. They also love the candy and occasional cupcakes they earn!
I hope one day my services will not be necessary, and schools will recognize the learning needs of 15% of their students. That's right...15% of students have a language based learning difference that needs to be addressed. Right now they don't. So I will continue to meet students when and where I can in order to bridge their gap to success. In fact, I'm headed out to the Hamptons now to see a few kiddos after a long day of camp...I'm sure I'll get a hug and a grumble. But then at least I can watch the sunset on the beach. Not so bad...