Not every day at school was dark, but the saddest were those when I was evaluated.
In 1986, I was tested again and never told of my learning disability; dyslexia.
Every time they pulled me out of class I wanted to cry.
As if trapped in a spotlight without warning, the heat instantly burned my cheeks. Sweat broke within my hairline and my skin grew hot before my teacher could speak my name. The urge to grit my teeth and glare defiantly at my at the chalkboard was strong. Refusal to leave was evident in my unwillingness to move or even look toward the stranger at the door. But, that would have only created an even greater spectacle.
So instead, I render myself invisible by disappearing as quickly and quietly as I could.
My sadness was like a stack of books weighing me down.
Not one destroyed day, in particular, stands out. No actual dates mark my dark calendar of baggage. I only remember being yanked from so many classes at least twice a year. The slow walk down the empty halls to a yet another tiny office unknown to students was unforgettable. As was, of course, the relentless testing. These memories are impossible to tear from the childhood scrapbook in my mind.
Merely recounting these sessions makes me sad.
No one ever asked me if I wanted to go. And no one ever told me why I was being tested. In fact, my parent’s weren’t even aware of these back alley assessments. Make no mention of my results.
I knew why I was being tested. I was stupid and THEY (the faceless they that no one ever calls by name or identifies) wanted to know how stupid I really was. They wanted to determine if I was worthy of my current grade or attending an institution.
Staring unfocused at something just over their left ear while allowing spittle to collect at the corner of my lip was tempting. If only to give them something more to report than…
…my inability to read.
But I was terrified of where that may land me.
A kid in my class once said that I was being interviewed for special ed or the community living classes as we called it back then.
The truth was I wasn’t sure what the outcome of my results would produce and fought the strains of tears that threatened.
It was not until university that I discovered that I had a learning disability called dyslexia.
Did they really think that they could pluck me from class for an hour and have me return without notice?
As if, elementary kids are known for their empathy and sensitivity. That the discretion of my classmates not to make mention or ask questions was understood. Some would say that I was lucky to have a change of atmosphere and would assume that what I went go to do was fun. Until another would not so subtly announce that…
dumb kids don’t get perks.
It was so unfair and disruptive. It took hours before something else would steal away their attention.
And, all for what?
It wasn’t as if anything changed. Once my brief absents was forgotten by my fellow students, life returned to normal. I would continue struggling along through school doing my best to blend in and avoid outing my stupidity, until the next surprise evaluation.
This was my reality throughout elementary school. It didn’t occur to me to miss my secret testing sessions until a teacher in grade 12 nearly ruined my high school career. But that’s another story.
I am dyslexic and this is my brutal truth.