In This Episode:
I'm peeling back the curtain and telling you the story of how this all started.
Welcome to Episode 73 of Dyslexia Devoted and today we’re talking about why I teach the way I do now, and what made me change.
Show notes: parnelloeducation.com/episode73
This Episode's Topics:
- Educator's Guide to Dyslexia starts Oct. 30th!
- Why I changed the way I teach
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
- Get the Dyslexia Devoted Newsletter
- Book a Parent or Educator Coaching Session
- 3 Keys to Success with Dyslexia Masterclass
- Discovering Dyslexia Course
- Educator's Guide to Dyslexia Course
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
Hello and welcome to dyslexia devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host, Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted. Hello, everyone, welcome back to another episode or possibly to your very first episode. I'm so excited that you are here. I'm also excited that is suddenly fall, there's crisp, cool mornings. Although I do not miss leaving for work in the dark and then getting home in the dark. That is definitely something I did not miss. I'm also really excited that we are getting very close to seeing when we have holiday breaks, I was going and mapping out which weeks I have offered Thanksgiving and Christmas. And it was just so nice to be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel even though I love what I do. But it's still nice to see a nice refreshing long term break ahead of me. But we still have lots of exciting things happening before we get into those holiday breaks. The very next thing is the educator course, the educators guide to dyslexia is starting on October 30, which is next Monday if you're listening to this live. And I'm really excited to help some educators learn more about dyslexia and all the things that I wish that I knew sooner as an educator. So if you're interested in that course, it's at Parnello education.com, forward slash courses. Or you can just click the link in the show notes where you're listening to this episode. Now, this educator courses actually what is inspiring me for today's episode, which is episode 73, of dyslexia devoted, why did I change the way I teach? Now, when I started teaching, I was out in Arizona and Arizona State has a very unique teaching program, in that your teaching classes are actually held on an elementary school campus, not all the time at the university. So you actually spend half of your educational time over at an elementary school, and you learn things in the classroom. And then you go to an actual classroom with children and work one on one with kids or with small groups of kids. And you're in the classroom long before you ever graduate with your teaching credential. So I actually had a fabulous program that I learned so much from and it was an amazing school that I was teaching at. And I have the fondest memories of my first three years of teaching, which is really funny because most people cry when they think about how hard it was the first few years of teaching, but I was truly blessed to be in such an amazing school with so many amazing educators. Because I was in this title one school, meaning very low income impoverished children, some of which came from refugee camps from the other side of the world, we were in a very unique setting where kids really needed a lot of really good instructional practices. I had an instructional coach for my very first year teaching of different strategies for teaching kids to read. And I felt like I was a really good reading teacher. And then I moved out here to California a few years later, and was teaching here and I was working in a school that has more high functioning autism. So those kiddos a lot of times pick up on patterns for reading pretty easily a lot of times, and I felt like I was doing a really good job teaching reading. There weren't any real kids that I felt that I was really like leaving behind. I felt like kids who could learn to read I was doing a pretty great job of teaching them to read. Please notice, I'm used to using the words like I felt like I was doing a great job. As I moved further along in my career, I decided one school was really not a great place for me. And so I changed to a different school, where we focused on kids with dyslexia. And my training, when I first got there was somewhat limited. I was one it was a very teeny tiny, tiny new school. And I only had three classrooms because it was a brand new school. I think it may have had four classrooms the year I was starting, we may have been opening up the fourth classroom. So it was still a very new school. And there are two little girls that made me question everything I knew about teaching. I think they're over 18 Now, but in case they're not because I'm a little sleepy this morning, I'm going to call them J and Jill, which is not their entire names. And so I was teaching J and Jill. And wow, it seemed like they got it. And the second I gave them another word with the exact same pattern. They had no idea what it said. And so j and Jill were third or fourth graders at the time, I think forth. And I was pulling my hair out. I was trying to teach them these teeny, tiny three and four letter words. And they just couldn't do it. No matter how many times I practice with them, they just weren't getting it. And I was really questioning everything. I went to my new boss and was like, I don't know how to teach these kids to read. You gotta give me something else. This program you gave me that's supposed to help them. Like it's just it's not working, give me something different. And then that's when she asked if I would be interested in more training. And I said please anything like I don't know how to help these kids. I feel really bad. There's these two girls that no matter what I do every strategy I have an entire toolbox of tools to teach kids to read and none of them are working. So that is why And I started my initial training for helping kids with dyslexia. So one of those two girls became my practicum student. And if you don't work in education, practicum basically means you do extra work for free. And then somebody evaluates you and watches you do your teaching, and then critiques you and tells you what you should do differently and what you should do better, and why certain strategies are not necessarily working so much. It was amazing. I spent three extra hours with this little girl every week. And it was amazing to see her finally getting it. I used different strategies that I'd never heard of before. Actually, that's a lie. I had heard about them one other time from another parent, and I thought she was really kooky. And because she was rather interesting parent, and she was telling you about how the kids like mark up the vowels, and they mark up the sounds and with whom lots of breaths and all these other things. And I looked at her like she was crazy. And I was like, why would a kid ever need to know those things? We're not speech teachers, we don't need to know how to do all those markings. I'm a teacher, I don't even know how to do those markings. And then here we are, you know, a decade later, and I use them every day. So it's things like that, that we don't know what we don't know. It. Sometimes we think we know what we're doing. We think we know what's working. But sometimes there's this whole other world you've never seen before, that works so much better. And I feel like that's where a lot of teachers are, they are in a place where they think they're doing pretty great. But then there's gonna be a kid that what they do now is not gonna work for them. And they need another bag of tricks. And they need to have a better understanding of how dyslexia works. They need to have a better understanding of what strategies need to be used to help a kid with dyslexia, learn how to read, I met a teacher a few weeks ago, who said, I've never had a kid with dyslexia in my class, it took all of my heart and soul to say, Oh, bless you, I'm glad you seem to think so. But that's not true. Dyslexia is about one in five. Even if you wanted to go on the higher end of one and six, that probably means you have like four kids in your class with dyslexia every year. And it was just baffling to me that she genuinely thought she'd never taught a kid with dyslexia. Know what it means you just never knew that you were teaching a kid with dyslexia. And you probably weren't helping them the way they needed to be helped. And it's probably a kid who was reading like, kinda sorta okay, but they have the potential to be an amazing reader. But you just didn't know that. And I think that's the biggest thing is that I don't ever feel like it's a teacher's fault for not knowing how to help a kid with dyslexia. Most of us were never taught how to help a kid with dyslexia be successful. And that is honestly the biggest shame of our education system is that we aren't shown how to help a kid with dyslexia, learn how to read. And we aren't shown what are all the signs of it, and how easy it is actually to teach most kids with dyslexia, there are a few that have some pretty severe cases. And I definitely see some of them. There are kids who come here multiple times a week, because they really, really, really need the superduper intensive stuff. But I also have several kids who come to me for six months, and all I had to do is just teach them how the pattern of how the words work. And they're like, Oh, that's it. Wow, that wasn't so bad. And they can be really successful. The biggest thing is that teachers just need to know how to help. They need validation that they're doing everything that they can, and that sometimes there's just more that they were just never shown before. And that's really what I'm hoping to do with my new online courses for educators, is to teach teachers all the things I wish that I had known sooner. I had been teaching for almost a decade before I ever learned how to teach a kid with dyslexia. And I thought it was a pretty good teacher. It's one of those things where you don't know until somebody shows you a different way, and I've never looked back, I now have my own business, I can choose any curriculum in the world that I want, I can choose any strategies in the world that I want. And that one I learned when that little girl was in my classroom after school each day, and during her PE breaks. And during my prep periods, I gave up so much free time that year, and boy was it worth it. It changed everything for how I teach kids now. And there's so many things that even without doing a practicum because they do take a lot of time and energy and sometimes money that you could be earning in like your outside job. Because most teachers have a job outside of teaching because they can't afford to pay their bills. I had to drop outside of teaching, hey, look, it became my business. Now. It's one of those things where you do have to sacrifice some things in order to do it. And some people don't have that as a choice. You know, I know there's a lot of single parents or parents where you know, being able to go pick up their kids from school is more important. Obviously, you have to get your kids home from school and feed them, that kind of thing. So sometimes practicum isn't really an option. So I created a course that really allows educators just to learn more about dyslexia, and how we can help kids be more successful. One thing that happened was that that little girl, when I was teaching her how to read one really, really unfortunate thing happened, which is she did really great with me. And then she went on to middle school. And we unfortunately temporarily had a head of school that did not believe in teaching middle schoolers to read. He believed that by the time kids got to middle school if they hadn't learned yet they probably weren't going to and our job was going to be to teach them to use a common day. Since only meaning like, how do we use audio books, how
do we use speech to text? And that's it, we're just not going to teach them to read anymore. Which was heartbreaking. Because do you know what happened to that little girl, I taught her up from fourth and fifth grade, she worked with me, we did a lot of work, she made a lot of progress. And then she came back to me in eighth grade and said, Miss Parnello, will you keep teaching me to read, I'm realizing I'm in eighth grade now. And I still can't read very well. And if I don't learn now, I'm not going to. So that's what I did. I worked with her, I was already an administrator at the time. And she came to me in my office every week on purpose, to continue to finish learning how to read because they stopped teaching her. And thankfully, that is not the case of the school anymore. That previous head of school is long gone for many years now. And thankfully, that system changed. But we have to remember sometimes, once you hit a certain point in school, nobody teaches kids to read anymore. They just teach them how to get by. And that's what's really unfortunate. At the end of that little girl's eighth grade year, I cried at her graduation, I gave her speech and everything because the kids got to pick who got to like speak about them at their graduation. And of course I did, because she was very deep in my heart. And I cried to her later on saying, Thank you, you made me a better teacher, I felt like I was failing you. Because I had no idea how to help you. And those years that you spent in my classroom, on your PE breaks, and after school, changed everything. Because I didn't know how to help a kid like you know, I do. Now as I go back, and I think there were kids that I could have helped better. I can think of one boy, who was a first grader, when I was teaching him it was my third year teaching. It took me six months to teach him how to write his own name. His name was Max, it was not anything crazy. And he could not write the letters of his name and order it he was constantly Sam X AM. And he couldn't ever put his letters of his own name in order. And now he's one of the kids I think about he's one where I think I now know how I could have helped him. I wish I knew then what I know now. So my goal is to help more educators know now and not have to know 510 years down the road. I want more educators to know how to help a kid with dyslexia. Even if they don't have time to do a full practicum and a full certification. I want every teacher to know how to help a kibbutz fluxea. So I'm hoping a few of you join me in my new educators guide to dyslexia course, it is officially six weeks long, but you have access to it for as long as that course exists. And I also just added the new private podcast to that one just like it did for the parent course. So people can listen to the lessons on the go, and don't necessarily have to be strapped to their laptop. And you guys can just go look at the slides later on or whatever parts of the video actually make more sense to actually look at compared to being able to just listen to, but I'm really hoping a few of you join me because being able to help a kid with dyslexia makes a really big difference. And have you seen some of the super successful people in the world? Many bigwig CEOs, and people who can change the world have dyslexia because they think so differently. But we just have to get them there. Alright, that's it for today. I really hope you join me at the course Parnello education.com forward slash courses. And either way, I'll see you next time.
Thanks for tuning in to today's episode. If you want to learn even more about dyslexia, check out Parnello education.com forward slash courses. See you next time.