#4: I have a learning disability
I do have a learning disability and it impacts my life daily. Sometimes it's a subtle little annoyance; sometimes it really stinks. The learning disability manifests itself as an inability to do math and to organize and in some other ways. It's not that I am afraid of math or have had a bad experience. My brain simply struggles and usually can't "get" math.
It must have been second or third grade when our teacher first brought out the wooden pies to teach us about fractions. I was completely and totally lost. I assumed everyone else was, too, but it was only me. That day is as clear in my memory as any other life-changing experience. For the first time in my life, I knew I was dumb.
I would have gone through life believing that, too, if it hadn't been for my mom who was earning a master's degree in psychology/guidance and counseling. At the time (the 1960's) learning disabilities were newly "discovered" and the research wasn't always accepted by teachers. There were still more teachers who believed that a student simply needed to try harder. But my mom tested me and had me tested by other professionals and there it was: the reason I couldn't do math, couldn't do puzzles, couldn't organize things, et cetera. It also explained why when I needed to throw a ball, I didn't know which hand to use - not because I was ambidextrous, but because neither arm was a dominant/strong side.
My mom became my greatest advocate. And when through the next many, many years we met an obstacle, she was right there finding a path around it. She never used the LD as an excuse for me, but always as a basis of understanding. She worked with me academically all the way through and she helped me to create patterns in my brain so that I could get through course material. Baby steps is more than a movie quote for me. It is how I've lived sometimes.
Checkered has taken up the cause since we've married. He shoulders anything having to do with numbers in this house from orgainizing and list-making to bill-paying to helping our children with their math homework. He even sits next to me at the end of every semester and plugs in all my students' grades and tells me what their final percentage is.
The learning disability is real, but I've learned lots of coping skills and function pretty well. I believe it all has made me a stronger teacher and a more compassionate human. I will be forever grateful for my mom and her life-changing love and her understanding that something WAS wrong and her determination that the LD would not be a stop sign, but that it would simply be a bit of a detour. And then there's Checkered. Wow! I've surely been blessed :)