Dear Tiny Pew’s English Sir,
I don’t know much about you, my son hasn’t yet gotten your name, the only thing I know about you is that you aren’t very tall or hefty. That is probably the reason my son who is pet named and teased for being tiny and puny took to you immediately. I have often wondered what makes men choose the teaching profession, but I am grateful for the few (and especially you) who do. But that is a topic for another day.
You do not know how much that little note, the smiley, and the Dora sticker meant to me. We have been struggling with my son’s learning difficulty from the time he started school. He took a whole year to get his alphabets right when all the other kids did so in 3 months. The ‘b’ and the ‘d’ still look the same to him, so do the ‘w’ and the ‘m’. His spellings are a concussion of letters, with little order or rhyme. The problem is that he thinks he gets them right when he doesn’t.
My problem is not however whether he gets the words right or doesn’t, but the look on his face when he brings home the test notes, mostly single digits, for papers worth 3 digits. It is the braveness that he puts up and the pretension of not caring. And sometimes when he snuggles close to me, accidentally words like “I’m not very smart or intelligent, why do you like me?” slip out of the little mouth, my heart breaks.
My son is one of the smartest people I know (and I know I have a mama bias). He can dismantle the circuit of a remote control car and fix it back (which I can’t).
He is also one of the most caring and helpful children I know. My aged father in law could not have a more considerate caretaker. He spends his free time talking to elderly neighbors, and the things he talks about! He is a wonderful host when we are receiving guests and makes sure they are comfortable. He goes out of his way to help his friends and classmates.
So this is what happens before every spelling test. The school curriculum expects the children to learn about 100 words in two weeks. We start with 10 words a day, which works fine for a day. By day 3 my child does not remember the words that we learned the previous two days. And by day 4 things get so frustrating that we end the session after 2 words with tears.
And then, I as a mother have a choice. I have the choice to enforce my rules, expect good behavior or I have the choice to just let the spellings be for the moment and focus on more important things like the child’s self-esteem and his need to be loved no matter what.
So I have decided that while I am going to be working at his spellings and reading, that it is not going to compromise on our mummy- son time, hugging time, just chatting time or being ourselves time.
But that means that the spellings will take time, so will the reading lessons.
Thank you for understanding.
Thank you for not being judgemental.
I can’t wait to thank you in person at the parent teacher meeting.
With lots of best wishes,
Tiny Pew’s mom.
There are a lot of resources for children with dyslexia.
I am doing a course on COURSERA at the moment entitled “Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing”. The instructors explain the concepts of learning to read and write in a simple yet comprehensive way. There are also a lot of practical suggestions on how to help dyslexic children. I would recommend it to any parent or professional working with dyslexic children.