It’s Okay to Learn Differently

It’s Okay to Learn Differently

Literacy has always been something I have struggled with. From the beginning of elementary school up until second grade, I dreaded reading and writing. I would always write my letters backward. I remember how frustrated I use to get with myself over this, and eventually I became the child in class that would slide all the way down in my seat to try and avoid being called on to read out loud for the class. When I was called on, I conveniently always needed to use the restroom. This only got worse as my kindergarten class continued to move on to more difficult reading and writing materials.

I remember being in Mrs. Roach’s kindergarten class, and we would all sit in a circle on this old worn out rug for reading time. Everyone would read a page then pass the book, and I would sit in that circle with my heart about to pound out of my chest. The book would come to me, my heart would pound harder, my hands would sweat, and my voice would quiver as I tried to sound out the words that looked like another language to me. I would get all the words out and pass the book as fast as I could, then find any excuse to be able to leave the classroom for a few minutes. I struggled with this all year long, and my parents feared I would not be able to make it to first grade. I felt so dumb. How can I be the only in the class to write all my letters backward? I would come home from school in tears because I could not pass my writing assignments. My mom would ask “how do you spell your name, you know this!” I would reply “B-r-i-t-t-n-e-y.” she would have me write it, but it would be backwards and unreadable. Mrs. Roach worked with me all year; I would come early to school, stay after, and even practice during recess, and I got better at some letters but not all. The end of the school year came, and I somehow made it to first grade.

I was terrified to start first grade! I remember crying my eyes out the first day waiting for the school bus because even though I continued practicing all summer, I still did not have it the correct way. I begged my mom, “Please don’t make me go, please, please” as tears and snot would run down my face. She kept answering, “You get to meet Mrs. Canfield for reading and writing; it will be a lot of fun; she is going to help you!” The bus came, and I sat with my older brother to avoid talking to anyone until we got to school. I found my classroom and got settled in, the first subject of the day writing…. I wanted to cry. Then in came Mrs. Canfield. She took me and two other students down the hall to her classroom that was filled with tons of different posters. She was our English teacher. There were about ten kids total from all different classrooms in the school who struggled with reading and writing like myself. She worked with us one-on-one all school year. I have no clue how she did it, but she taught me how to write my letters the correct way! Reading and writing started to become easier and easier. She made fun competitions for reading books, and I became addicted to the Junie B. Jones series. First grade was coming to an end, and I felt more confident than ever in school and could not wait until second grade.

I truly believe that Mrs. Canfield’s program saved my education. I hated school and could not stand anything about it until I was taught a different way that worked for me, a way that made sense in my eyes. Each person is so different in every way, including the way they learn. I learned completely differently from anyone else, but she took her time to find what worked for me and apply it. She pushed me to do my best all the time and taught me that some things take longer to learn for certain people. Her program helped me enjoy school and get the most out of my education. I used to purposely miss the bus to be late for school and miss reading time, but thanks to Mrs. Canfield’s dedication to my education, I am now in my second successful year of nursing school.