What Teachers Got Wrong
I grew up in a small town where we only had a Primary School. Inadvertently I was booked into a hostel when I had to attend High School in a neighboring town.
I remember how difficult it was for me to understand why Teachers did not like my approach to answering questions. In my mind, when a Teacher asked a question the following sequence of events unfolded in my brain:
- Teacher asks question.
- My mind started extrapolating relevant information from all the knowledge ‘files’ already present in my mind.
- My mouth spoke the answer even before my hand was raised.
- I felt a sense of achievement for being able to repsond so quickly and accurately and was ready for the next question.
Apparently, the Teachers did not find my method that amusing. They explained to me time and time again that I had to:
- Raise my hand first.
- Wait for the Teacher to acknowledge me.
- Speak slowly and succinctly.
- Allow other pupils to also answer the questions without immediately pointing out when they were wrong.
This had an effect on me which would alter my recall ability significantly for the next 2 to 3 decades. This caused me to start keeping my answers to myself. I was reprimanded for knowing all the answers, but I couldn’t help myself, it was just there in my mind.
I got more reclusive and started to engage less in class. My marks took a tumble and where I had a 98% average in school when I was 13, I ended up with a 60% average when I finished school at 18. I just wasn’t interested in playing their game anymore. I never studied and wrote all my exams on general knowledge. I also did not answer all the questions because according to one Teacher, it made the other students ‘look bad’.
It is a pity now that I did not have a mentor who could see that I was on the spectrum, and could guide me through my academic life phase.
To the Teachers
Perhaps read up on Neurodivergent pupils and how to include them. Try to see their potential and help them develop their unique self instead of trying to make them fit in with other Neurotypicals.
Today, for fun, I dabble in science, math, engineering, biology, psychology, geography, writing and martial arts…
At least now I do not keep quiet and I am my authentic self. Finally…