We received this essay from a middle-schooler named Ella about a particularly difficult experience she had as a dyslexic. It is hard to read, but it gives us an important glimpse inside a world that many people do not understand or have chosen to forget. Ella has since gone on to become her own best advocate and is currently attending a school which specializes in dyslexia and LD identities. Keep fighting, Ella.
I’m sitting in the back of the classroom. I raise my hand high. My teacher does not call on me. There are 48 kids in my class. Then a young girl walked into the classroom and said “Is Ella here?” I got up and went outside to her.
There were 3 kids there. Their names were Meadow, Nigel and my best friend Emma. One of the kids in my class yelled out, “That is for retarded kids only.” I felt empty and sad. Was I retarded? “No,” I said. My face became red as all 48 kids looked at me as I walked away into another classroom.
I walked into the room and felt angry and I sat down at a desk and had to read a fluency packet. Then we had to get up to level 7 and I was on 2.
I walked back to class and sat back down at my real desk back with all 48 kids. The teacher gave everyone a huge book. The teacher called my name. I started to read the sentence. I stumbled over words and skipped the words I could not read. I looked up and everyone stared at me with a strange look on their faces. I felt my eyes starting to water. My friend beside me said “just ignore the class.” I kept reading. Then the words became blurry then the words went dark.
The teacher said “Sam it’s your turn.” I heard him read and he didn’t even mess up. I felt stupid. When school was over a student came up to me and said. “Why do you read so slow?” I felt my tears trying to burst out. I breathed in and out and said, “Why do you care?”
I walked away slowly and felt upset and mad and wondered if I hurt his feelings by saying “Why do you care?” I wanted to apologize but I couldn't I was crying too much. I ran into the bathroom and sat on the ground. Then my three friends walked into the bathroom and asked me why I was crying. I lied and said because I hurt my knee. I lied because I didn’t want them to think I was dumb. I lied because I was embarrassed. I heard my mom call my name so I ran out of the bathroom pretending to look happy as we drove home to my two sisters waiting for me.
Ella is a seventh-grade student who recently shared her story with us.