Location: England UK and Philippines
Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher Boy who could not read
Teachers need to stand back and think long and hard about themselves before condemning boys who will not or can’t read. I justify this statement from my own experience.
My time at school was bad, I learnt very little, except hostility and how to fight. I wanted to learn but I was made to feel guilty. I desperately tried to improve myself, but I had no help from my teachers and my father, they all just considered me stupid or lazy. The teachers would put me at the back of the class. They were constantly criticising my attempts and punishing me for lack of effort and bad work, or no work at all.
This constant criticism and hostility only made me learn to fight, not only the system, but the teachers as well. I was constantly being ridiculed by the teachers and subsequently by my peers, this made me become shy. I was made to feel ashamed by them, which made me feel guilty. I developed a book phobia and I never did my homework. I received no tolerance or patience from the teachers or my father. The only praise I ever had, was from my woodwork and sports’ teachers. As for the others. I was constantly being hit, caned and slapped by the teachers or sent to sit outside the headmaster’s room to be caned by him. Some of the teachers used to hit the back of my hand with a ruler or tie my hand behind my back. I started writing inside my lift-up desk, in one of the lessons, because I was interested in the lesson. Until one day the teacher crept up and slammed the desk on my head, unfortunately my reaction was to throw the desk at him, cutting his legs. I was subsequently banned from his class and made to sit outside the headmaster’s room for all his lessons. All I was trying to do was my work without him seeing how I was doing it. I left school at the age of 15, unable to read or write at an acceptable standard.
It wasn’t until thirty years later that I discovered that it was the teachers that were badly educated and not any good at teaching, in fact they were ignorant and bizarrely superstitious. All that was wrong with me was that I was left-handed, which from Mediaeval times was the sign of the devil, plus I was and still am dyslexic. The teachers just had no idea of this condition and simply considered us as stupid or lazy. All of this destroyed my willingness to learn. I developed a serious phobia of reading and writing. But now I am obsessed with learning and developing my skills and overcoming my handicap of dyslexia and as for being left-handed as long as I don’t use a pen that will smudge, I have no problem. Throughout history some of the most talented and important men and women have been left-handed! Only a complete fool now would consider it a problem.
It is with some comfort that most teachers are now aware of these sorts of problems and are taking steps to help those that need help. But there is still a long way to go, not only in the teaching profession but also in society in general.
With a lot of hard work helping myself and the help from teachers of adult education, I have now reached a standard with which I am starting to feel comfortable with, but I still have a long way to go. I now have A level English, a degree in Theatre arts and I am a qualified TESOL – Teacher of English as a Second Language. I am very grateful for the help I have received from adult education teachers, but they can never give me back my wasted years. If only I could go back in time, with the knowledge I have now.
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Hi Keith and Welcome:)
I read this and all I could think of was WOW and WOW again! Talk about sitting here and staring at the screen. I was trying to figure out what to type.
You have so much strength to you it comes out in your writing.Most would have given up and never tried to move on but not you. I am still completely awed by this post.
For some time now I have been thinking of volunteering at the library to help people with English as a second language workshop. I want to thank you for helping me make the final decision.
You are such an inspiration! THANK YOU AGAIN!
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Keith.
It’s sad to hear that the education system failed you. I really admire your courage and willingness to learn despite the traumatic experience during your younger years. Only a handful could rise above such ordeal and you did it!
You really inspired me, Keith. You never lose hope. You are a strong person…I really admired you. And your story will serve as a lesson and inspiration for us.
Position: Classroom Teacher
Oh my i am blessed that i wasn’t at school yet by that time because i am sure i am also punished only for the reason that i am left handed!
That was really traumatic experience for you Keith. Good thing you had overcome the phobia of reading and writing. I admire your courage to be successful despite of what you went through in your school years.
Those old times school system was really bad. Corporal punishment could never be a good way to make a kid follow, instead, they will be more rebellious in their own ways.
I heard that some of the teachers are still using that kind of system. Not physically but verbally which could even hurt the kids more because they will feel less capable of doing things. the student will develop low self esteem and be psychologically abused. But these days, such teachers can be reported to the school officials and could be terminated from service if found guilty.
Location: Setif, Algeria
Positions: Classroom Teacher Administrator, English Teacher
You really made me speechless, did you ever think to write a book? I hope we can speak more about that because it seems that you have a LOT of stories to tell, I’ll waiting for your next fabulous story Mr Keith;
Thanks, and Thanks again
Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher
That was really inspiring Keith. It’s amazing you are able to share this with us. Only if we could turn back time we’d do things differently. But we only have one chance. Good thing you helped yourself. The very first person that can help us is ourselves. Again, Kudos to you my friend!
~~~a stone is not carved by force but by constant friction~~~
Location: WV, USA
Such a truely inspiring story. For you to have to go through all that abuse and still come out on of it all and loving to learn, absolutely incrediable. Their are so many adults that went through something very similar to what you went through and just gave up and didn’t do much with their life. If they could just hear your story it would inspire so many. Thanks so much for sharing. Your story is truely encouraging. If you can make it through you hard times and still love to learn, I am sure anyone can.