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I know many of us have stories about great teachers that we have had, or our children. I have one of those stories as well.
My daughter has been getting homework since she was in kindergarten. This homework was designed to be done in 10 minutes, just so the young kids could get used to bringing work home to finish. As she moved up in school, at the time 5th grade, the homework should have been completed in about 35 minutes. At least that was the design. All through elementary school she struggled, and I would be there with her, trying to help her. Instead of being finished in 35 minutes, we were there most nights for 2 - 3 hours. I am not kidding you. This is how it was for years. To me, as her father, this seemed like laziness. How could she not get it, day after day? There was no excuse. These nights of doing homework there would be yelling, anger, tears, disbelief, threats, you name it. My wife and I could not understand.
I remember one reading assignment in particular. She read a question asking something like, "Which animal was walking behind her?" The answer was in the paragraph above the question. My daughter proceeded to read the entire paragraph, and at the end, she did not know the answer. I told her, "it's right there! I'm looking at the answer right above the question." She would read the paragraph again and come to where it read, "and the tiger was walking right behind her." My daughter just kept on reading, got to the end, and did not know the answer. She read it again, almost in tears because I am frustrated as hell. She gets to the part with the tiger and then keeps reading, I tell her to stop. Read the question again, and then read the sentence she had just read. When she did this, she was like," OH!" and wrote the correct answer down. This went on all the time, for years. Math homework the same way.
My wife and I had meetings with her 5th grade teachers twice about the issue, cause we were at a loss. About two weeks later, they call us in for another conference. The class had a math assignment they worked on during class. My daughter just stared at the paper, not knowing how to do it, even though they had just gone over it. Her teachers, Mrs. White and Mrs. Clark, sat with her and explained again. My daughter said, "OH!" and went on to get all of the questions correct. The next day Mrs. White gave my daughter the exact same questions, and my daughter looked at it as though she had never seen the problems, or had them explained to her. She struggled for about 5 minutes, then Mrs. White explained it again. My daughter got it, and finished the paper, all the answers correct.
Mrs. White and Mrs. Clark had taken an interest in her and found an issue. They had us test Naomi at a learning center. When we went in for the results the person at the center began to ask us some questions. Does your daughter take longer than normal to finish assignments? Does she not remember things, even though she was just told, or just read it? Does she look at questions, with the answer right in front of her, and not be able to answer the question?
All of these answers were yes. I looked at the lady and said, "How do you know" She said, "Your daughter has an issue with short and long term memory. She can't remember things." I just started crying. As I write this, I have tears in my eyes again. All those times I yelled at her, the frustration, my poor daughter, my little girl. I was so mean to her, and it wasn't her fault. What a shitty parent I had been. Why did I not recognize this? I am supposed to protect and support her, and I thought her lazy! The lady said, "It can be fixed." They had a program that could train her brain to retain the information. My daughter would have to go through intense therapy. Not the type of therapy your thinking. The therapy was mainly playing games, doing visual associations, helping her to make sense of what she was reading. Picturing what she was reading. Seeing patterns. It was a six month program, and VERY expensive. But we did it. We did not buy a car like we were going to, we bought my daughter therapy.
My daughter started immediately. within two weeks we started seeing results. In two months, everything was different. Homework was not taking 2 to 3 hours to finish. It was done in less than an hour, with very little help from me or my wife. I remember looking at my daughter and telling her how sorry I was. I was sorry I had yelled at her, sorry I had called her lazy, sorry I did not recognize this earlier. And I held her, and I cried. Now, almost three years later, my daughter is doing great. A's and B's, except for Spanish. I'll let that slide for now.
When my wife and I went back up to the school to talk with Mrs White and Mrs Clark, I hugged them and thanked them. They had helped my daughter, our family, to be closer. If they had not recognized this, we may still be having issues.
This story is why I believe our communities should help our teachers. This is why I have a goal to raise $5,000 this year to go to our teachers. Did you know that on average, teachers spend about $600 out of pocket on supplies for their rooms? Many spend more. The vast majority of teachers do it because they are passionate about it. They know they are not going to get rich doing it. And if they do think this, I hope they are not teaching math. lol
For every home I sell, I am donating $250 to a local school, of your choice. This monies will go to benefit the teachers, and hopefully lessen their out of pocket burden. This is a small gesture we can make, for the enormous role teachers have in our lives.
If you have questions on how this works, email me at: Johnny@JohnnyMorrow.com, or text me 210-897-2645