Have you ever found yourself completely hopeless in a class because you can’t understand a word your professor is saying?
As an American who has moved to Pakistan. (Probably the worst mistake I could ever make in my 20’s) I struggle with the language. No matter how many Bollywood movies I’ve seen, when speaking to a native I get tongue tied; trying to speak in Urdu is painful. Since I am here now inevitably, I need to start focusing on my education. Already I have enrolled in a Master’s program for Public health on the weekends and will be teaching full time as a second grade teacher.
My program hasn’t started yet, so I decided it would be fun for my sister and I to throw ourselves in the deep end learn coding and web design. The first 2 days were magic, with a new found confidence; I felt like I could walk into Facebook and get a job (having a Hault and Catch Fire Cameron Moment).
Fast forward 2 weeks later, I couldn’t understand a word the teacher was saying; I was reminded of my traditional lax attitude back in the day – drooling on the table till class was over. I nudged my sister asking if she gets it; she retorted,”Yeah, why not try listening!”
Oh a pet peeve of mine to be told, “You’re not listening.” I have struggled with academics and ADD my whole life. ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder- it’s not that I don’t pay attention which people get wrong about ADD- for me it’s more struggling to comprehend. I will use coloring codes and spider webs to break down topics. Crazy but so helpful, seeing two different colors in notes helps you remember better.
Reading has really helped me cope with my learning disability, I read Quartz daily brief, The SKIMM; another great vehicle for comprehension is listening to podcasts TED Talk and NPR.
Getting back to the Web Design class, I told my professor that I didn’t understand his monotone lecture on CSS, instead of helping me he requested I ask my sister. Ready to punch him square in the face, I controlled myself. My sister didn’t realize how frustrated I was till she saw me sobbing in the back of the car. My mother asked us how class was, and she could hear me whimpering and choking back tears. My sister began to cry; I felt awful to make her feel bad for me and began to uncontrollably howl and sniffle till I finally stopped.
The class really got to me – I became a wreck. I asked my cousin who’s a doctor, to test for ADD her answer was, “It’s not a problem, it’s up to God”. I was outraged and I didn’t get medication.Using tutorials and taking notes has helped me in the class; the class will be be over soon. The professor is rubbish and that goes for anyone who doesn’t want to help a student; why are you teaching?
I plan to be the best teacher I can to my students and help them achieve their goals!
I’ve realized this void needs to be filled maybe starting an NGO foccussing on mental health and learning disabilities across the spectrum.