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Teacher's Corner
 

 

"If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun 
 to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated."
      - Wilfred Trotter
 

 

            I have been waiting a long time to address each of you. In fact it has been almost eleven years that I have waited to talk to you. Sit down and pull up a seat. This very same table is where I sat eleven years ago with my oldest daughter Megan. It's here that I watched a fidgeting young 2nd grader struggle to produce the results we all expected of her. Back then I was in awe of you. I really couldn't believe that anyone would want to do this job. How you, everyday, kept coming back amazed me. To have upwards of thirty children in your class like Megan just was unthinkable. I began to believe that the training teachers received must explain the directions on how to teach a child to read and us "non-teachers" just didn't have the know how. I couldn't believe that teaching a child to read was such hard work. Why, what she learned today was usually gone tomorrow and we had to start all over again. When did they ever get to the finish line I wondered? 


         As the months rolled by, I began to talk with other moms. I tried to nonchalantly get them engaged in a conversation regarding "all that homework that those second graders had". What was strange to me was no one seemed fazed, just me. I began to think, I must really be out of the loop, because everyone else seems to be just taking this in stride. Along the way I did get some confused looks when I mentioned the real long period of time that we took doing homework. Most parents just laughed like I was joking. My good friend then told me that she didn't help her daughter at all. I found that hard to believe.

         As I visited the school through those first years it became increasingly obvious that the teachers didn't feel this was as big a problem as I did. I was told lots of second graders still do this or that or "it will become clearer to her as she gets older" and other well meaning words.

         It wasn't until I started working with my non-dyslexic child that I saw the light. This child needed direction with her work not the nightly overhaul that the other two children needed. I slowly began to understand that most of the children that you saw each day were like my third child. When they ask a question and you respond in a manner of teaching that you have always used, they get it. Just like that. My other children ask a question and I can not respond in the way that prompted the question. It's like playing charades. I do this and they guess. I do that and they guess. Finally after many guesses they arrive at the answer.

         If I could have condensed all these eleven years of learning about them, I could have shortened those guessing games. Today I help with homework in a reasonable amount of time for five students, and I survive.

         You must be asking why I made a page for teachers. The answer is simple. It is to encourage you to learn how to teach dyslexic children to the best of your ability. Many of you may not even recognize what you don't know about these kids. When my kids ask me, as they often do, why most teachers don't seem to know that their ways of teaching make learning so hard for them, and why can't they just explain things in an easier way.  I respond that I can sympathizes with most teachers, that it is hard to imagine let alone understand the seemingly backwards ways that they go about learning most concepts. I explain that it took me a long time of asking questions and listening to their answers before I could begin to see where the problems were at and could organize my mind on how to make the changes that made sense to them. I am hoping that you will be curious enough to listen to all the information and then build your own programs after you really understand about my children. I am hoping to help you fill in many blanks about the kids in your classrooms that don't seem to try or those who continually struggle no matter how many times you re-explain concepts to them. I am hoping to give you more of the pieces to a puzzle that you began when you entered a college for becoming educators. Some of you may have specialized in special education and you will have a good understanding of what I am talking about but those of you in general education classes are whom I address most of this page. It's you that I am talking to. My children have never been in a special education classroom, and many other parents that have emailed me have kids in the general class rooms too.

          I understand that most of the information on dyslexia was taught in the classes of those that were going to specialize in special education. Today many dyslexic children stay either entirely in the general class or at least for a good portion of the day. Does anyone else but me see the problem here? It isn't that the majority of you aren't dedicated teachers, it's just the training you need was never given to many of you. When I call schools to ask principals about what training their teachers have regarding dyslexia, I still hear many of them tell me I have the wrong person and offer to transfer me to the special education department. There usually is silence when I tell them I have the right person and that I want to know what training their general education teachers have. Answers like that just reinforce my determination that all teachers be trained in alternative ways of teaching.

         Some kids, like when my husband was young, will never be tested. Will we wait for a diagnosis of something before we do anything? There are so many ways to teach all kids not just the dyslexics or traditional learners. Why aren't we trying to reach as many possible? Many states and schools have gotten graded on their school's performance. Many aren't doing well. Check out your states grade for special education before you insist that that's where my kids and kids like them need to be. Most states have a grade of a D or below. My goal is not to increase the burden on schools to do more testing so that more kids have an official diagnosis at the district's expense. Rather my goal is to educate teachers on how best to help ANY struggling child so that success is met with or without a diagnosis.

       I was recently talking with several mothers that had dyslexic children like me. Ironically we all agreed that if more information was given to the teachers on how to best help our child succeed, we probably would never had had to get any testing done. Most of us were forced to learn such things as what an IEP was, and how to force a district to test our child in order to defend ourselves against schools that simply were not taking us seriously. Most school districts will have to consider the fact that all teachers should understood the basics about how to educate all students in their classrooms. If they could help the parents in the process of learning how to best educate our kids, we wouldn't feel we had to arm ourselves with everything possible to get the education that our kids are often denied. We simply ask that teachers have some knowledge and understanding to help us in our struggles when educating a child with a learning difference. 

         I am asking that you take the time to research what my family and I have to say. If you feel that you already know enough to teach a dyslexic student in your classroom, ask yourself if there are children in your classrooms that are still struggling. If there are, then you do need to learn more. I have worked with more then one dyslexic student for over thirteen years and every year they show me something that I had assumed I understood, when in actuality I needed to learn more. If you didn't receive much information regarding teaching dyslexic students in your coursework, encourage the institution that you graduated from to make those changes for future teachers. In my in-service on multi-sensory classrooms, you can skim over the information and mutter "I already know about learning styles", but if you commit to learning and digging deep you will read about teacher after teacher in the in-service that have made the changes to their classrooms. They talk about the reasons they did this and how they did it. I've provided many informative sites where professional people, not moms like me, talk about the how and why. I am committed to bringing change to the way the world perceives the dyslexic. I hope through bringing you one by one to this table to talk with me I can convince you to make changes and learn more about my kids and those like them in your classrooms today. I use a multi-sensory approach everyday when I help my children understand their homework. It is what makes the difference between them doing poorly and the success that they have found as evidenced in our pictures on the home page.

        Most importantly though you have the opportunity to learn more that will directly affect many children in your classrooms through both the conference we held for local teachers in our area and the online in-service on changing your classroom to a multi-sensory class. In the next few weeks I will be adding interviews of several teachers that I have found that are teaching completely by using a multi-sensory approach. I am hoping that, through your fellow teachers that have learned how to change their classrooms, I will be able to give you more information on changes and how to complete them. Have you have ever worried about a student that you had? Have you worried when you simply couldn't seem to reach him or her and wondered whether they made it through school? Maybe by learning how to make your classroom multi-sensory you would give him a better chance to succeed. I wish I could invite you to my house to learn with my kids as there is no better teacher then experience. Instead, I have tried to bring our experiences to your house so that you may learn by reading about us. Call me or email me if you still have questions. I have had questions from teachers that I had to go to my children and ask them for the answers. Many time they could best describe to a teacher about the response that they were getting from a student and why. To those teachers that have completed training on dyslexia because you saw a need, my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. My children thank you too.

 

 

A college degree and a teaching certificate define a person

as a teacher; but, it takes hard work and dedication to be one.

- Paul McClure

 

I hope that you will take the time to send me your thoughts. Please feel free to email me @ mmmasko@therighttolearn.com  Thank you.

 

 

Ebook - This is the complete story of our family's journey to understanding dyslexia. It includes the chapters written by my five children and my husband explaining experiences that they have had because of their dyslexia. Click here to read a sample of our book-preview

 

 

DVD- Understanding Children With Learning Differences is a conference that was presented to a local school's teachers. I did the presentation along with my husband, sister-in-law and two of my dyslexic children. If you want a chance to fully understand the differences in children like mine and understand how and what works for them during the school day- this is it. We talked about changes in the classrooms that should start at the elementary and concluded with teaching methods that
are used throughout high school. My husband and sister-in-law talk about the affects of not having a school that understood them as children and the affects this has had throughout their adult life. We end the conference with questions that are presented by the teachers themselves and answered either by my family or myself. 

 

Inservice- This is an on-line workshop for teachers or parents to learn about the various learning styles that students have and using that information they learn to make their classrooms into a multi-sensory experience for all students. This course was put together after gathering information from many teachers and professors. It lists links to many sites from teachers who have made these changes in their classes. The course teaches you how to make your classrooms multi-sensory so that all students can understand the material, not just those who learn in traditional ways.  You'll find the steps needed to change your material from traditional to multi-sensory with plenty of examples and easy to understand concepts. You can read about other teachers who have changed their classrooms to multi-sensory and the results they have achieved including their results on standardized testing. When you have completed this course you will have a good understanding of how to make your classroom multi-sensory, but also more importantly of why you would make the changes.

For more information on your school receiving these resources click Here  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



 

 


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