Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Teaching Elementary Students

Since beginning this blog (2006), I have become a licensed K-8 teacher (no, this is not me in the photo) and have relocated to the southeastern part of the United States. Some have asked me how can one be a teacher...with a stutter? For me, it is because I mostly do not stutter when I am speaking in front of others, especially with children in a teaching capacity, and I also stutter much less in professional situations. If you want to know the reason why, I am afraid that I can't tell you. I simply do not know the reason. I am sure it has something to do with psychology, some reverse-psychology, or some affected-speaking technique, or something like that. I do know that if I talk in a "teachery" voice, or in some other affected voice, my stutter completely leaves. This is a form of speech therapy, actually, for stutterers, but it does not last forever. If you talk that way all the time, eventually that would become your new manner of naturally speaking and your stutter would likely just return. That is what I have learned from studying it, anyway.

My dream has always been to be a teacher and now that my own son has graduated from Georgetown University (last Saturday) and is beginning his own teaching career in the Fall, it may be that this desire to teach is either hereditary, or perhaps he just naturally developed his own love for teaching. Either way, I am proud of him. He will be teaching Spanish in either middle grades or high school. I don't remember if I mentioned this, but prior to teaching, I was a children's counselor in a psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania. That was a wonderful job and I actually worked with a few stuttering adolescents. One boy really opened up to me and was really comfortable talking to me. His story was very sad, his parents were very verbally and psychologically abusive and his self esteem was extremely low. I hope he is doing well. He is very intelligent, writes very well, and just needs people around him to build him up and support him.

I am finding it harder to read out loud recently and that is just another of those phases I suppose I am going through. In my support group, I try to pass on reading because I hate to struggle, it's exhausting. Sometimes my fluency tricks will help, mostly they don't, however, because one of the biggest fluency tricks I use is word substitution, and you can't really get away with that when reading from printed text. Other times I will just force myself to read because I think it's helpful and healthy to face ones fears.

Some of the students I pick up on the stutter, even though it's minimal. When I talk to them individually, or if I address the class, I do stutter at times, and I have had students point it out. I usually will just admit that I am a stutterer and then they just forget about it. I haven't yet had a student who stutters. I am hoping that I will one day.

I haven't blogged in a while, I am hoping to get back to it more regularly. Thanks for reading and feel free to email me with any questions! Happy Summer to everyone! :) 


Vik Vein said...

This man proves that if you really have a dream you can do it. I am sure that his stuttering doesn`t affect his job. You know nearly all children have some little problems and it can lead to failure in their study, they can just be afraid to express their thoughts ( follow this link to find best ideas for your essay) but when they see that their teacher is “not ideal” they realize that it is not a problem. I don`t mean that every teacher should pretend having some defects but your children have to know that you are a simple person just like they.

sarahshin said...
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sarahs said...

Wow, I am really inspired! I am a stutterer also, and I'm currently in pharmacy school. I work at CVS, so I constantly have to answer phones or call patients/doctors all the time, and I absolutely DREAD phone calls because for some reason I stutter more. I also have a hard time saying CVS, since I'm not too good with the 's' sound. However, the fact that you became a teacher despite your stutter gives me a lot of hope!

I also have a question: Have you only taken Celexa, or have you taken other drugs? I recently discovered that some medications may help improve fluency, but I do not know how to approach my doctor about this.

Michael Caccavano said...

Apologies for contacting you through a 'comment' but I was unable to find an email address. Clearly you have a lot of experience and understanding of the challenges of helping one work through a speech impediment. I have learned to deal with my own challenges with speech but my son (9) is my focus now. I am exploring different techniques and coping skills to help him help himself. I recently came across this program:
I'd love to know if you have heard about it, and what you think.

Thanks for your time,

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David Haydon said...
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