Are we challenged or just learning?

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People often comment about my teaching (usually complimentary) and of course, it is greatly appreciated. However, it is what I have learned from my students that is truly priceless.

Over the years, I have met several students, with brain injuries or learning disabilities. These people have entered my classes with fortitude and grace. Many enter knowing the challenge ahead, others dismiss any obstacles. In turn, I try to facilitate their learning experience by offering alternative ways to learn this sometimes challenging game.

This past week I had a young girl in class. This session all the students were experiencing their first time playing on their own. This student was unsure of herself. As usual, I was summoned for assistance. I reviewed her tiles and hand possibilities. She was frustrated, not totally getting it. This sweet young lady automatically assumed it was her injury holding her back. I not knowing of her disability, treated her like all my other students with a little hand holding to boost her confidence. She became increasingly upset, eventually leaving class for a few minutes. This is when I learned of her trauma. I was shocked. In my mind, she was the star of my class. She got the dealing, first time around, and was helping to explain concepts to others. My job was to convince her she was like everyone else. That this, because she was, at least in this situation. It is normal to be nervous, unsure of yourself, and lack confidence. Forge ahead, make mistakes. This is how we learn.

I have since shown her some of the exercises on our website, and her confidence is growing. She is now a happy student, and I am a happy teacher!

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