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Real life stories from Dyslexic teachers and trainees

All names have been changed to ensure confidentiality

 


A story of justice

 

I was officially diagnosed and statemented with dyslexia in 2000 during my first year of University.  At this point I was extremely frustrated at not being listened to at school that i felt i had a problem. But becuase my CAT scores were relatively high, i was labelled an able underachiever. 
Eventually my uni put me through a screening process and was then statemented.

I was given the support i needed and achieved a BSc in mathematics.  I then went on to a different uni where i worked towards an MSc.

Everything was going fine until i got to do my PGCE at a 'top' university.  I applied to this university as a challenge and was offered a place. However, as i found it extremely difficult to write an essay at the
start, i felt as though i was written off from the word 'GO'. Athough my reports from my lessons were always high quality, the fact i struggled with
structuring assignments seem to be a big thing to them.

I was given some support with my work, and even a scribe for my dissertation (ironically focusing on teaching algebra to dyslexic children). However i
had to work through all other 2000 word assignments myself (5 of them). I was given tremendous support from my placemetns schools as they could see what i can do and the potential i had, whereas this university seemed only interested in breeding academics for Post-grad courses)

The thing is, i passed everyone of them except for 1. My tutor emailed me and even wrote a letter to say that "I'm sure you will get it on the next
attempt", only to intercept a note she wrote to the examiners in my assignment file saying " I have grave doubts he wlll ever produce anything
better than this" and "means well but has alot of growing up to do".

My first instinct was to after passing (which I actually did!!) was to go to the newspapers about this , but then i thought i'd use this to my student's
advantage and send a message out to those students who experience these same difficulties:

I show them this note, tell them who wrote it and where from....followed by my PGCE certificate, QTS & Induction certificates and my letter for the
promotion i got in my NQT year to Assistant G&T Coordinator with a clear message......."Don't let ANYONE ever tell you that you're not good
enough". 


My reasons for teaching has changed from when i applied to take the PGCE, I now have a drive to make sure children with Dyslexia (and other SEN)
are given the support and opportunities they are entitled to.

As my partner is now pregnant I've now moved to a school in the midlands so we can be closer to family and friends and the number of thankyou cards
I got from my students just proved to me how much this career is worth to me and that I am succeeding in my quest.


 

Applying for a PGCE course:

 

Emma has 10 years worth of teaching experience, a BA in Early Childhood studies and dreams of being a qualified teacher. Recently she was diagnosed as being severely dyslexic. She has already developed many strategies to compensate for her difficulties in spelling and has proved her competence as a teacher in her years of experience as a classroom assistant.

 

Before being identified as having Dyslexia she went for her first interview for a PGCE course, but was turned down.

 

At the interview she was given two tests, one mental maths (KS2 level) and one essay entitled, “Teaching is a rewarding yet demanding role”. She was not told beforehand that these tests would be part of the interview and came unprepared.

 

The interview process was done in pairs. Emma was asked to stay behind when the interview had finished and told that she wouldn’t be accepted.

She was told that, although her presentation was confident and that she would make a great professional, her tests results were poor. The interviewer also remarked that she should, “come back and be able to complete the same work as an 11 yr old”.

 

Emma mentioned at the interview that she may be dyslexic, but as there was no formal diagnosis, this was not taken into consideration. Once she had been identified as being dyslexic she contacted the university again to ask them to reconsider. She was again told that they would review her application next year if she had some extra tuition and improved her skills.

 

Emma’s confidence has been knocked by the experience. She is applying to other universities in the hope that they will be able to offer her support rather than ridicule.  

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