Dyslexia... · Education · Parenting · Quality first teaching · Teaching

Dyslexia… dig deep and find your self belief…

imageDyslexia … Finding my self belief… New beginnings

I have not managed to write a post for a few weeks as I have been completing a course to update my dyslexia qualifications as I wish to be able to diagnose dyslexia. Despite knowing and employing all the strategies, I still find it hard studying at masters level and I still find it incredibly hard to process and make sense of new information! I have finally finished it today. I have also been enjoying the last few weeks of the school holidays before a new term starts and I board the roller coaster that is real life and reality! I never enjoy the last few weeks of the summer holidays because they mark an end of another year but also the start of a new term! Mostly I don’t enjoy the last few weeks because I know that as soon as term starts my stress levels and tiredness levels will go through the roof, not because my work is stressful but because I will have to start playing the game of staying ahead of the game, constantly feeling like I’m on the edge of fight and flight and managing and remembering a million things I am not in control of!

This time though I think the start of term will be different, I think this start of term is the start of an exciting new beginning that truly will be the start of a new chapter in my life…

For everyone, regardless of need or abilities, new beginnings often hold a mixture of emotions fear, excitement, anxiety, worry, enthusiasm… As a child I remember the feelings of starting a new school year. I remember thinking it is a fresh start, new books, new teacher, new goals, new learning, will listen harder, will keep all my work neat, will finish everything on time, will learn, practise and remember my spellings and I will complete all my homework on the day it’s set! I would go to school on the first day full of enthusiasm, it would last a few days before the excitement faded and reality hit in. The same old feelings of never being able to quite keep up, never really feeling like I had understood, never getting all my spellings right, no longer feeling excited because I was thoroughly exhausted and overwhelmed. Quickly a new beginning turned into a dread for me year after year… All new beginnings became were a chance for me to set myself up to fail, to promise myself the world but never quite be able to meet my high and frankly unachievable expectations.

I would like to say as an adult I felt better about new beginnings but I’m not sure I do… I am about to start a new job in a days time after making the life changing decision to leave my previous post to peruse new dreams. This appeared to be a crazy decision to many people around me as I was top of my game where I was, successful and well respected… Trouble was I was respected by everyone else but I did not necessarily respect myself.

This was a courageous move because at the time of resigning I had no where else to go and I had no job lined up… However I knew that I had to start respecting myself and I knew that I was unable to deliver what was to be expected of me without sacrificing myself… I have finally learnt to respect myself, look after myself and accept my diagnosis… Since leaving good things have happened to me, I have started my blog and I have been offered work opportunities I had only ever dreamed off… I finally realise I need to respect and trust myself more. I am good at what I do, I do have a valued voice and I can make a difference to the world.

This new job is a chance for me to start over, a chance for me to start on a path that only I have tred and a chance for me to prove to myself that anything is possible with hard work, determination and most importantly self belief…

This is the first time I have started a job knowing I am dyslexic and knowing who I am if you like! It is the first time I have felt in control of the decisions I have made. Until recently I felt like I was on a path mapped out for me, not by anyone in particular but by society. I had worked my way up to being a senior leader, was top of my game and the decision to leave I know was viewed as an odd and a strange one by many. Here in though lies the complicated reasoning…

As a dyslexic, who never felt like what I had done was good enough or equal, I was my harshest critique. Starting over is a chance for me to lower the expectations on myself and have a more realistic view on what is possible and what I can achieve. This is not to say my expectations of myself will lower. Crikey… I have the highest of expectations and ambitions, however it is a chance for me to do it on my terms. I spent much of my life until fairy recently believing I had to make up for my dyslexic brain, which I viewed as a deficit and meant I felt I needed to work harder than everyone else to be equal… I felt my opinion counted for less, that was if I was even brave enough to air my opinion… I am anxious about starting my new job because I feel this time I start it with all the facts. I start it on a level playing field knowing I am equal and as important as anyone else. Knowing my passion and drive and intolerance of weak teaching or weak understanding is because I need to get things as perfect as possible, it’s not a weakness, it’s not a flaw but a strength I must embrace this and I know that people around me will also embrace it. I will not apologise any longer for being me, I will no longer view my strengths as weaknesses and I will no longer feel what I have to offer is unworthy compared to those around me.

I do feel excited. I can’t wait to meet a new staff team, new children and find out how a different school works. I can’t wait to get back to my teaching roots and start making a difference using my specialist skills but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also terrified. Terrified of letting others down, but more importantly terrified of letting myself down. Living with dyslexia has seen me develop a perfectionist nature where nothing less than perfect is a failure. I know this is not a realistic approach and gradually I am shifting my mindset but after years of believing this it will take time to undo. I’m going to be brave and I am going to try new things and push myself from my comfort zone… I am going to say yes to all the opportunities that are offered to me knowing that I am capable and that even if I can’t do them in the conventional way I’ll find a way because I always do… I am a gifted and talented teacher like many others around me and I will be successful and this new beginning is a chance to prove it… Not to anyone else but to myself…

Sometimes the hardest person to impress is yourself and sometimes you just have to back yourself knowing that you can do it…

This new beginning is exciting and I am sure this new beginning is going to change my course… Just not sure which direction yet but for the first time in my life I don’t feel trapped and I don’t feel limited by what I can achieve. I feel free and I feel like I have options and this is all anyone can ask for! I just wish I was brave enough to have done it earlier… Brave enough to believe in myself, brave enough to back myself and brave enough to trust that I am equal, good enough and maybe even gifted because of how I have overcome my difficulties without even realising they were there…

Don’t let your learning differences limit you because there are enough people out there who won’t believe in you… At the very least you must trust in and back yourself at every opportunity… You must learn to respect yourself. You are your biggest advocate and if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will…

Find me on Facebook Another Way Round or Twitter @jodyslexicrees


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