By Ms. Madhura Gurav
In my previous job, I was working as a shadow teacher for this 2nd-grade boy. He was not diagnosed but had manifestations of LD. He was unable to catch up with his peers and there were accompanying behavioral concerns such as anger and stubbornness. I was working with him for around a year, where it took me 6 months to break down his extreme anger. This included shouting, scolding, and angry facial expressions, each of which was directed towards me. All this because he felt that he was SLOW than his peers. Also, he had no friends. So I worked on his social skills, by me being friends with the whole class first, using humor, and involving his friends to talk about funny topics while simultaneously ensuring that the student was not made fun of. Humour and play were infused in his academics too where concepts were taught to him through fun activities. Gradually things started to change, with his reduced anger and appropriate social skills, he was doing well in his academics too.
I had teachers and his mother coming and telling me about his improvement. He used to never look at me and smile or wave hi to anyone, but towards the end, he would cheerfully wave whenever he spotted me.
I was also taking sessions with a student diagnosed with ADHD. Very energetic and spontaneous, it used to be very difficult for her to learn and retain any concept. As she was a visual learner my plan of action consisted of using mind/ concept maps and drawings to explain key concepts. Humor, puns, and giving frequent breaks helped. During the breaks, we would play small word games or engage in some calming activity to reduce her hyperactivity.
She scored really well in her exams and as a token of her love and appreciation, I received something, which was a very sweet gesture
Working with both students built my patience and sensitivity towards the diversity in the learning needs of students.
I end this story with the words of Robert John Meehan “It shouldn’t matter how slowly some children learn as long as we are encouraging them not to stop.”