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Robot Unicorn
cielamara wrote in learndisability
In an effort to get some discussion going, let's talk about educators. I'm sure everyone has had an instructor over the years who's Made A Difference in their lives, whether for the better or for the worst. Who were yours? If you ARE an instructor, or want to be an instructor, feel free to share your stories and observations as well.

Some noteworthy instructors in my academic history:

1) My third grade teacher, Mrs. B. She was the first one to recognize that there was a problem. She had been watching me all year, and saw the way my mind wandered and drifted, but could hyperfocus on certain things. She never gave up on me--she believed in me, continually telling me how smart and creative I was even when I was doing so poorly I was having perpetual stomach issues from the stress. When I went to be tested for ADHD, I was in danger of failing third grade. After I was medicated, my grades went up significantly, and I managed to get through the year successfully. If I had had anyone else, it might have been a drastically different story. I owe a lot to her.
2) Ms. C. She was my intermediate algebra professor (college instructor). I went into her class with a bag of emotions. I was dazed and shocked and wounded and humiliated from having been kicked out of school; I was pissed I had to take this stupid math class when I really just wanted to suffer through calculus and stats, which is required for my degree. I was also terrified, because, well, I'd been SO bad at math for SO long that I had become afraid of it, as afraid of it as if it were a facehugger or something. This woman worked wonders for me. I made a grade I expected on the first exam--a 72--and she wrote on my test, "You can do better than this. I believe in you."--despite having the paperwork in her hand that said, clearly, that I had dyscalculia. The next test, I made a 96, and it was one of the best days of my life, you guys. When I looked at her after she handed me that test and just beamed at her, she said, "See? I knew you could do it." She spent a semester encouraging me in everything, praising me for everything I did, and for the first time in my life, I felt GOOD about my math skills. I believed that I really could be a scientist, that I COULD get it right. I've not lost that feeling, despite currently struggling with advanced algebra.

So, who were yours?

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Mrs. Jones, my 7th grade pre-algebra teacher. She figured out something like two weeks in to the year that SOMETHING WAS WRONG. She started giving me separate work from the rest of the class. I was covering the same material, but I had less homework (because she realized it took me twice the time it took everyone else to do one problem), more worksheets, and she would teach me differently (I stayed after school for tutoring 3 times a week). When first semester ended I came to her in tears because they had switched me to a different teacher and I was scared I'd start failing because I wouldn't understand anything. She went and got my class switched back to her.

Mr. Black, my 12th grade English teacher for second semester. My GAD was really bad that year and that was the year my Bipolar Disorder started and they were having trouble medicating me. He realized that I had days where it was just impossible for me to sit still and function like a normal person. Instead of either ignoring it or singling me out as a trouble maker he worked out a deal where if I was having a bad day I could go work in the Special Education room (different from the Resource Room, it was for severely mentally challenged students who spent their whole day there) and then got all of my teachers to agree to this. The Special Education teachers were used to dealing with the random behavior that happens when I'm having a manic or mixed episode and kept me from not only disturbing anyone but from getting in trouble like I had for most of the first semester because I would start acting out in class.

(Deleted comment)
LOL- we both used numbered lists. XD

1- My instructor for the last English course I took (and last course I took in college at all). He had been through a car accident and suffered some brain damage a few years prior, but he was brilliant and talked so fast! I could pay attention because he wasn't boring, but you couldn't ask him any questions without giving him a few days to answer.

2- My paralegal instructor. He noticed how much trouble I was having with life in general, and would be nice enough to treat me with dignity. I think he was the only person who even noticed something was wrong at the time. If I had a problem, he'd at least make an effort to look me in the eye about it. I remember how I would come to class and have so much trouble with even turning on the computer, that the students would make fun of me. He'd notice I was fighting losing it, and he'd go turn it on. After the first time, he'd have a special spot for me with the computer already on, away from the noise of everything else. I honestly think he knew I had autism before I did.

3- My Senior history teacher. We made no sense to each other and it was REALLY awkward, but he noticed how I thought different and how I was the only student who actually liked his class, so he was nice to me. He didn't judge me like the others.

There are probably more, but I can only think of these three now.

1a- He was the only teacher who taught me everything I learned about English. I had taken about 6 years of advanced course before his class, but I couldn't understand the rules of it. I can actually tell you the structure of a sentence now, and if it weren't for him, I'd never be able to put together a coherent chapter.

I never had trouble with English or anything... just if I don't know the "laws of the land," so to speak, I mess things up.

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