Can I teach if I have dyslexia?
Politics and Activism

What I Learned From My Dyslexic English Teacher

My AP English teacher in high school was dyslexic. Here's what she taught me, outside of our curriculum.


From the very first day of Honors English III/pre-AP English Language and Composition, I loved Mrs. Newton. She was funny, intelligent, and made the class just difficult enough to satisfy my need to be challenged but not so difficult that I couldn't balance the course with an overflowing schedule of Honors and AP classes. Like most other AP courses at my school, I was scheduled to have her class for an entire year, and I was psyched.

Not long into the year, though, Mrs. Newton admitted something unexpected to my class. We were working on a warm-up paragraph, an excerpt from a well-known novel as usual, when Mrs. Newton struggled over some of the simple words in the prompt, like "from." My fellow students and I were confused - the font wasn't small, surely she could read it? But Mrs. Newton told us that she was dyslexic, and sometimes struggled over words that were similar to others, such as "from" and "form".

This struck me as strange yet intriguing. My English teacher, for an AP class, no less, was dyslexic. It was a form of oxymoron similar to a colorblind painter or a depressed comedian. Yet her dyslexia had never deterred Mrs. Newton. She had studied literature in college and had gone as far as to earn a Master's degree in some era of British literature that now slips my mind. She spent her days teaching three sections of junior year honors English to high schoolers who admired her for her humor, wit, and knowledge. She admitted that she often memorized how words looked in order to read them correctly, rather than relying on sounding out the letters.

She was and still is, one of my biggest inspirations.

Many times in my life, I have felt that I was not "cut out" for what I intended to do. I still often feel this way. As a young woman of just-slightly-above-average height and of homosexual orientation, I often wonder how I am going to elbow my way through leagues of tall, brash, straight men in the fields of science, politics, and legislation. It often feels like I have a mark stamped on my forehead saying, "Choose someone else. A man, probably." From my days in public school up to now, I have faced discrimination because of my sex and my sexual orientation, from male lab partners who took chemicals out of my hands because I "need to be more careful, sweetie," to the looks of thinly veiled disgust and disappointment from adults to whom I offhandedly mention my romantic life - involving, of course, women.

Couple those traits with my depression and anxiety, and it often feels like my career is an insurmountable mountain looming in front of me, and that I should just aim for something much lower.

Hearing Mrs. Newton's story, I realized that she had overcome circumstances somewhat similar to mine, and had fought against her dyslexia to pursue her dream of teaching English. Through her, I recognized that I, too, could break into my career field despite the odds and become someone phenomenal. Sure, I may not become president of the United States or the scientist who cures cancer; but finding a job that makes me happy and satisfies my dreams, like Mrs. Newton's teaching position, is all I need.

I also learned that you don't have to be a well-known figure to change someone's life. Mrs. Newton was a high school English teacher at a school with only around 1,000 students (207 in my graduating class). She wasn't a famous author or a well-known speaker. But she made all the difference in my life, and that is what truly matters.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

For a long time, Goya has been a staple in some Latino households. People carry around jars of Adobo when they eat at friend's houses and packets of Sazón Goya can be found in almost everyone's pantry. Many BuzzFeed lists, videos, and memes aimed at Latinos reference Goya somewhere.

But in a year that just keeps hitting us with bad news, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Trump was an "incredible builder" and that the US was "blessed" to have him as president at a White House event on Thursday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 Outcomes, Because It Has To End Eventually

You've heard a lot of possible outcomes thrown around, let's break them down.

If you log into any social media app, you will be overwhelmed with self-appointed experts, preaching the correct way to end this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the comfort of their La-Z-Boy chair. Aside from those dramatic children on TikTok, it's all anyone can talk about. There's an obvious reason for this — the pandemic has taken our world and flopped it on its head, bringing confusion, angst, and an obnoxious amount of sourdough bread into our lives.

All this to say, it's easy to get lost amidst the storm of arguments online. Instead, it's best to break down what's actually going on so we can have an educated perspective as we look to work together to move past our current predicament.

Keep Reading... Show less

Raven Baxter Was Our Favorite Teen Fashion Icon And We're Still Recreating Her Best Looks, Here

We take a look at Disney's most fashion-forward show to recreate some iconic looks.

Disney Plus

I grew up in the early 2000s. And, like any child at the time, I was hooked on Disney Channel shows. My favorite was and is "That's So Raven."

Raven is a teenage psychic navigating life in hopes of not revealing her powers. Only her family and close friends know she has them. Her powers oftentimes get her in trouble, which is where the comedy comes in. But, they also teach her and her friends sentimental life lessons.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sobriety is so underrated, even when it comes to healthcare. The instant gratification of a substance or drink isn't exactly as gratifying as some people may think. For those of you who've never been hungover, consider yourself lucky — a hangover is biologically horrifying. A hangover is not instant gratification, so who are we kidding when people say "it just feels good." Being healthy actually feels good and won't hurt you or your bank account in the morning. The best way to be healthy is to choose sobriety.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ah, yes. The juice cleanse. Yet another popular diet trend that promises to magically solve all of your health, nutrition, and weight issues.

When you take a close look, juice cleanses aren't as magical as they are made out to be, and in fact, they might do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less

Unauthorized Plastic Surgery Is Totally Unethical, And Happening WAY More Often Than We Know ‬

Plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancements has you looking more botched than beautiful and it’s painful to see.

Coming from someone who could afford numerous cosmetic enhancing procedures I would never in a million years cut up my face or my body. I'm pretty emphatic and when I watch these brainwashed victims with bandages and chronic inflammation (swollen lips) I literally feel their pain.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've never been big on casual wear or athleisure. Most people who know me have never seen me in sweats. But, I do have those two or three pairs of sweats I can't resist climbing into the second I get home, the newest addition of which is the extra cozy Odyssey crewneck sweatshirt I got in an XL size to feel as close to being wrapped in a blanket at all times as possible.

In the past several months, I've started to expand my horizons, considering the ways in which I can bring my small wardrobe of comfortable bedroom clothing into the public. I've experimented with topping leggings and a sports bra with a denim jacket to the park, and an oversized sweatshirt worn as a dress, cinched at the waist with a belt when I'm out wearing leggings.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Dress Like Your Favorite 'Insecure' Characters — Without Spending $2,000

We take a look at the fashion of Insecure season 4, and how you can create these looks yourself.


Insecure is one of my favorite shows ever. It really encapsulates what it's like being a Black 20-something, trying to navigate the many ups and downs of life. Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany are living their best lives in California while dealing with the twists and turns that come with that.

From life to relationships to careers, this show truly captures everything that runs through my mind on a daily basis. The show has a sense of realness and a strong frankness that makes you gravitate toward the characters and root for their success.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments