This post, written by a 16-year-old with dyslexia, originally ran on the blog of Learning Ally, a national non-profit dedicated to helping blind, visually impaired and dyslexic students succeed in education.
(Editor’s note: This essay, written by a high school student with dyslexia, is published as she wrote it, without corrections.)
As I sat in the hard plastic chair glancing around the pale walls, I studied a bunch of colorful posters about spelling and reading and I looked at the clock, trying my hardest to read it. My 2nd grade teacher told us to mark our papers one through ten. “Number 9, spell because.” I was only at number five trying to figure out if to had two o’s or one. I knew I practiced spelling the words so I should know this, I knew my spelling rules too so I should be able to figure it out if I forgot.
“Alright, that’s all the words good job! You can put your tests in the basket and when the bell rings go to lunch.” I couldn’t tell my teacher that I didn’t finish because then she might think I wasn’t listening and yell at me not to mention my friends might be able to overhear and then they would think I was stupid and make fun of me.
When we were coming back from lunch and on our way to art we noticed that our teacher had hung up some of our writing in the hallway. Everybody found theirs and all were laughing and smiling. My friend noticed me still looking and asked where mine was? I replied “Umm, I don’t know it must be at the top somewhere we can’t see it.” It wasn’t though, the teacher didn’t hang mine up because my handwriting and spelling was so bad. “Let’s just go to art.” I muttered.
“Today class we are going to be finishing our scarecrow drawings, for those of you that are done I could use your help on a project. Come up and see me.” My friend and I went up along with two other kids, we all surrounded the teacher eager to see what he had to say. “Alright I need you’re help cutting out some pictures for class but you have to cut really straight lines so I’m going to give you this piece of paper to test on first.” We made a single file line and I watched as all of them cut one straight line.
Finally it was my turn and I did my very best. My art teacher looked at the line and his face dropped with pity, he then looked up from the paper to look at my face. I was smiling because that was the best, most perfect, straightest line I had ever cut in my life. I was 100 percent sure he would let me help. He looked at the whole group of us and said “Okay Mackenzie, Thomas, and Brittney you come and help me. Victoria you can go and draw in your notebook.” I slugged away to my seat and watched as they got to cut out the pictures.
Next was reading class, we were doing popcorn reading, all of the other kids were so good at reading. I didn’t know when I was going to get called on and there was no way that I could count ahead and I had never read this book before so how was I supposed to know how to read it and help everyone understand what I was reading I mean sure they had the book in front of them but- “Popcorn Victoria.” Everything stopped.
“I’m sorry, where are we?” I stammered trying to stall.
“Page 32 right at They were…” My teacher responded
“Okay, ummm, can I go to the bathroom?”
“After you finish your reading.”
“Oh alright,” I said disappointed, “ Uh, They were e-e…”
“They were excited,” I repeated, “they ran to change into their PJ’s”
“It’s Pajamas!!” A few kids yelled at me. I continued reading and by time I was done we only had minutes left until the end of the school day so the teacher told us what chapters to read for homework.
The wonderful, heavenly sound of the dismissal bell rang through the halls. I grabbed my backpack and met my brother so we could walk home. Once we got through the front door my mom said “Hi, how was your day at school?”
“Good,” I responded, “just a regular day.”
Today, Victoria is an accomplished and confident junior in high school — and she is well known in her community for her remarkable skills in advocacy, public speaking and ability to deliver eye-opening presentations about dyslexia for kids, parents and teachers. Victoria is one of the Ambassadors in Learning Ally’s YES! Program and mentors younger students.