Sometimes when you comment about bad teachers, I think good teachers think you’re talking about all teachers. Fact is, there are bad and good teachers, and bad and good cops, and bad and good parents, and bad and good editors. Acknowledging the bad ones doesn’t cast any kind of pall on the good ones. But teachers are kind of always behind the eight ball, expected to work miracles with kids who don’t care and parents who are too busy and a beaurocracy that holds you responsible for everything. It must feel like everyone is always yelling at them.
And I surely was not.
I actually thought seriously about being a teacher. My daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability in first grade by an amazing, perceptive teacher. When I tried to help her study for her first spelling test in the LD room, she ended up crying hysterically. I called her LD teacher the next day and asked what I had done wrong. When I described my drill-sergeant methods, she basically said, “Everything.” Over the next few months, she took me under her wing, telling me about new methods, sending home copies of methods from her books, from the internet. Soon we were using shaving cream, wet sand, sand paper. We were creating songs and rhymes and stories as memory devices. And it was fun. No more hysterical tears.
So I started working as a substitute teacher to see if I had what it takes to be an LD teacher.
I didn’t. You have to have a persistance of hope to be an LD teacher, and a belief that the kid can do it even when the kid doesn’t believe it. LD teachers are saints, and I’m not good enough to do it.
Over the years my daughter had amazing LD teachers, and I worked with her for sometimes two or three hours a night. She gradually moved out of the LD program in high school. Today she’s in college, and that wouldn’t have happened without some amazing teachers, a parent with a tremendous amount of time on her hands, and a kid who will not quit, no matter how many times she has to do something over before she gets it. There are some bad teachers, but the vast majority are truly dedicated people.