Labeling Students Hurts Them
When I was a kid, I hated reading. It was difficult, not fun, and took forever to finish a paragraph. I had to read paragraphs over and over again because the words never stuck on my brain. By the time I got to the end of the sentence, I forgot what I had just read.
Reading comprehension on tests was always my lowest score – every time.
I was in a special reading group to help me read better/faster.
By the end of elementary school, my parents seriously debated having me tested to see if I had a reading/learning disability. If I did, then I would get more time on every assessment in school and probably get better grades (even state-wide standardized tests give special treatment to students with disabilities).
Long story short, I never was tested because, in the end, my parents decided “whether she has trouble or not, she will have to learn to deal with it in the real-world so…”
And I’m extremely thankful that this was their decision and I’ll tell you why:
Yes, I could have had all the time in the world to actually finish a test in every other subject besides math… Math was the only subject I could ever finish a test; finish and ace, probably because it was numbers and not so much reading… And Yes, I probably would have had better grades in high school… And, did you know that, even colleges allow students with disabilities to have more time?! Wow.
But even with more time and, in turn, better grades, what does that actually mean to the student?
Is more time and better grades worth the trade off that the student now is being trained (negatively) that the world will wait for him/her?
Slapping a label on a student is fine and dandy for middle school, high school, and even college… but is it really better for LIFE?!
After a student graduates college and has been getting unlimited amount of time on projects from the age of eight to 23, do you really think that that student will be able to complete paperwork for his/her boss in a timely manner?
Great, you got an amazing job because your grades in school were decent, but isn’t it more important that you are able to KEEP that amazing job by understanding deadlines and learning (from a young age) that the world does not stop just because YOU are little confused.
Deal with it kid. This is tough love. I will not coddle you for 20 years and then push you out of the nest, with a broken wing, as an adult. No. This is setting you up for lifetime of failure and I care about you way too much to do that to you.
I will let you learn from an early age that everyone is different… YOU are different! You might read slower, flip-flop letters, struggle with numbers, or any other difficulty… That is perfectly ok. Let’s learn how to deal with that together.
I know it’s difficult right now but time, practice, and failure (together) will be the best teacher for your disability. I promise you.
Why do we rush to slap labels on students instead of just allowing them to figure out how to cope and learn from their situation? Isn’t failing at something better at a young age than letter in life when there’s 20 years under their belt of negative reinforcement?
It would be like never letting your child learn how to ride a bicycle because you are afraid he/she might fall – just keep the training wheels on and pretend he/she is in the same 2-wheeled race as everyone else in life. Then when they’re 20-something years old, take the training wheels off and continue to pretend that they will be perfectly ok because, well, they’re older and magically learned in their sleep over night… ?!!??!!
How does this make sense?! Stop NOT making sense and let our children learn from their mistakes and difficulties!