Submitted by: Melissa Myers, Head of School
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. For anyone who has Dyslexia, the idea of “awareness” must be pretty darn ironic. People with Dyslexia rarely forget they are Dyslexic.
I have a good friend, a former Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan, who is pretty forthcoming with his struggles. This guy is 6 ft 4, well over 250lbs, and likes to entertain people with stories about building makeshift tanks out of scrap metal to deflect IUDs. He’s strong in mind and in body. Yet, this same man once told me that if someone asks him to read a menu or tell time on an analogue clock, he breaks out in a cold sweat.
Such is the power that Dyslexia can have over people. Unless, of course, they go to a school like Sterne where this power is harnessed, tamed, and turned into a superpower.
We seem to attract a lot of teachers with Dyslexia (Imagine that!) and I can say, unequivocally, that these are some of the best and most accomplished teachers that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. These are the teachers who write some of the most thoughtful emails, and who read the most voraciously. They just read with their ears instead of their eyes. These are the teachers students relate to most because they’re vulnerable and open (You have to be if you run the risk of students constantly correcting your spelling) empathetic and creative. These teachers know their way around roadblocks, and are happy to show students the way, too.
Students with dyslexia often have a pretty rough start to their education, and it’s oftentimes because of this rough start, that compensatory strategies are developed and emerge. Where a Dyslexic student may struggle to read because the letters can literally move around the page, many of these same students have amazing visual-spatial and artistic abilities. Just look around the walls at Sterne! Dyslexic students are often big picture thinkers, natural storytellers, and creative visionaries. (Think Governor Gavin Newsom and Steven Speilberg). And we are so excited to teach these students how to crack the reading code, unleash their creativity on paper (in both art and in writing) and truly capitalize on their strengths. That’s what we do here at Sterne everyday.
Happy October to all our amazing Dyslexic learners!
If you’re curious about what it’s like to have Dyslexia, check out Understood.org’s “Through Your Child’s Eyes” module.
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