26 August 2009

Just not smart

School has started again and I can already tell it's going to be another replay of last year: not good.

My teacher is saying the same things I always hear. I have to "concentrate." I need to "stop being so distracted." I should "try to pay attention." But it is hard when I stink at every single subject.

First of all, we dance two hours a day. I used to like to dance. But in this class, we have to memorize routines and since I can't tell left from right, I am always turning in the wrong direction and then I get all mixed up and embarrassed and I never quite catch up again. Everyone always makes fun of me for bumping into them and for tripping over my feet.

And then there is Spatial Relationships. We are supposed to take these puzzle pieces and build these three-dimensional objects. I am so bad at this. My objects always come out with a couple pieces left over and they look NOTHING like the sample. Sometimes the teacher puts up slides and we have to say what the object would look like if it were flipped over. I get almost all of those wrong.

The teacher says if I would study harder, I would be better at that. But I'm telling you I can study for all night and I still manage to mess those up! She gives me these looks like she doesn't believe me. She even rolled her eyes at me yesterday.

Mechanical Aptitude is a bad one for me too. We have to learn to operate all kinds of machinery. When the levers and knobs are labeled, it isn't a problem, but this year we are supposed to be able to operate the machines with no labels, just by memory. I am always pulling the wrong switch so things clash together and make terrible noises.

Musical Performance is hard. I am trying piano this year since I could never figure out drums last year. I practice for hours, but my fingers just don't seem to find the right keys and all the notes sound alike to me. No one believes this. They say I should work harder.

I wish we had more literature and spelling. But there have been cutbacks, so we only get an English teacher for an hour every two weeks. They say we are supposed to be studying the essentials, not spending time on luxuries like reading and writing. But that is the only thing I am good at, and that hour is the only time I ever, ever feel happy at school.

I wish I weren't so stupid. I wish people didn't make fun of me. I hate school. I don't know why I have to go.

I'm not considered learning-disabled. I'm good at English and Math, so school was always easy for me. I tried to imagine what school would have been like for me if they focused on subjects I wasn't good at, which is what school is like for dyslexic kids every day - even though they may have amazing talents in other areas.


mar said...

wow, that is amazing writing. i was gonna say great, but it's not great for kids who struggle with any or all of those issues.
a little over a year ago, at the age of 24, s was labeled by the va mds as slightly learning disabled. especially when it comes to reading. i love reading; my mom said i was reading books by the time i was 4. it boggles my mind, but there are so many things (particularly social) that i'm not good at, not at all.

Ericka said...

very interesting. i relate - i'm quite good at math, but i'm trying to learn a language and it is torture. omg. i really can't get any of it to stick.

Isabella Golightly said...

I know 'normal' kids who can't put sentences together as well as this. Keep at it.

lizgwiz said...

Oh, man. Spatial Relationships. I SUCKED at that. Gifted in almost every other area, but I just couldn't flip around those little shapes to save my life. It was eye-opening, though. "This must be what it feels like for people who have trouble reading."

Lisa Hale said...

As a special ed teacher that works with kids who have learning disabilities, I am touched that you took the time to reflect upon what school might be like for kids who don't "do" school well. Nicely done. :)

Elle Kasey said...

In MD in the 80's there was a test called the California Achievement Test. One of the sections of that test was the Cognitive Abilities Test. It was a spacial relations section. I got a 43 but 97-99 in every other section. The principal told my mom I was "clearly performing above her ability level." Welcome Spacially-impaired one!

Karen Murphy said...

Awesome POV switch. This should be distributed to parents of kids w/special needs, and also non-special-ed teachers. I'm a parent of a kid with Down syndrome, and even parents have a hard time remembering what it's like for their kids. Good job.

Rachel said...

This definitely left its impression on me, especially when I think of how social anxiety affected my schooling and how it affected different subjects (i.e. gym class, science labs, etc).

And yes, this needs to be put out there for a wider audience to see.

Anonymous said...

Great post. If I never here the words "if you would just apply yourself" and "you could do better if you wanted to" again it will be just fine. I cannot tell you how often I heard those words in school. Diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive as an adult at 40. Sure does explain things...

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