@EliTHeDDC Blog: 16th September 2020
Night School (2018)
Last Sunday evening I stumbled across a film on Netflix that I thought I would ‘give a go’. The lead actor was Comedian and actor Kevin Heart (who I later discovered co-wrote the film), so I figured it would be a big of a giggle; I clicked play and settled into to be amused and entertained.
So, I started watching, and about ten mins in, I have to be honest I wondered if I might switch it off, and in the words of Why Don’t You (if you are under 45 you probably wont get that reference – sorry!) ‘…get up and go do something else’, as the main character (played by Heart) was really getting on my nerves (well acted!) – the character was annoying, not being true to himself and generally not someone I want to spend my spare time watching… then it happened! I saw something that not only peeked my interest, it made me say to myself – ‘ha! I bet he’s dyslexic’! So I continued to watch.
If I am honest I did continue to watch with an air of scepticism, as I am often so let down and disappointed by films and media clips that are about dyslexics or dyslexia, as they usually make my blood boil, because they are usually SO negative and derogative towards us dyslexics. And this one, with its floating words, text and images, looked like it was going to be, yet, another movie that left me feeling disgruntled and chuntering at the tv in disgust, saying something along the lines of:
‘STOP IT! STOP, making people think dyslexics see text jump around the page! Grrr!’
[And why does that make me mad, well because actually it is not dyslexia that makes words jump around the page, it is something knows as Meares Irlen syndrome – referred to as Visual Stress now-a-days, which is separate to dyslexia, although it does affect about 50% of us dyslexics.]
Anyway I digress – so with my interest peaked I continued to watch, and the more I watched the more I felt the characters, the scenes, the heart, soul, feeling and obvious care and consideration that had obviously been poured into this film! Then we met the teacher! and WOW! in my opinion they absolutely (metaphorically) nailed it – absolutely spot on! Not only her absolute disregard, distain and disrespect for anyone who has the audacity to suggest that a student can’t do something, or cannot achieve, but her sass, passion, care, determination, dedication and drive to empower and intrinsically motivate her students, for me, encapsulated beautifully the spirit of me and my fellow specialist teachers!
We know students have to work hard, we know they have the smarts to do it, and we know they will, they just need to work smart and learn how they learn, and that’s where a good specialist teacher makes a world of difference. I absolutely LOVE this teacher, referred to in the write up about the film as an ‘unorthodox’ teacher, but let me tell you, this teacher is the reflection of all the amazing and really good specialist teachers out there!
I particularly loved the symbolic representation of the effectiveness and dedication of dedicated and highly driven, specialist teachers take their work seriously – when you watch the film keep a look out for this scene…
“teaching the conventional way just isn’t gonna get it done… what’s the square root of 81…”.
I simply adore this metaphorical representation of how we specialist teachers ‘get it done’, this film really resonated with me – Click to watch the clip – BUT, please know I don’t actually punch any of my students, the representation is metaphorical – we do however work in amazing and unconventional ways!
For a comedy film to encapsulate the reality of both a specialist teacher and what it is like to be a dyslexic adult (not all adults of course, but so many of us), I definitely think you should add this to your ‘My List’ on Netflix and I am sure it is available on other platforms too. I don’t want to spoil the film for you, so I won’t pick the plot apart, but I will and want, to say, that this for me, was a great way to spend a Sunday evening, it’s definitely on my dyslexia Love film list!
Note for educators, parents and my fellow dyslexics: Just remember that the damage a bad education, or a lack of education does to a child (and subsequently the adult we gorw up to become) – this damage can seem insurmountable, It’s impact on adult life can sometimes be horrific, sometimes it’s not, but, one has to admire the staggering ability, amazing determination, sheer smarts and brilliance that is an adult dyslexic who finally decides they want to go for it and goes ‘back to school’ and returns to learning. They usually really have no actual concept of the success and euphoria that they will feel once they achieve their goals, and realise that they have risen above those schools, teachers, and the education system that failed them and had them believe for so long, they couldn’t achieve!
One thing I know all dyslexics have in common, is that we all have a little spark or a little voice, a little feeling, an inkling, a little something that would never leave, never go away, never shut up, and would never stop shouting (even if we drowned it out) and telling you that you ARE, better and more, than they have had you believe all these years – The best day ever is the one when you finally give in and you listen to that spark and you put one foot in front of the other and you take that leap – you decide it’s now or never, and you go for it, you seek advice, you get support (to learn), you read that book, you sign up for the night class, the online course the training session, the taster session, you get tuition, coaching – whatever it is, that your positive mind is telling you you can do, and you do! Step by step, bit by bit, you make it happen – you find the teacher that sees you, does their job and teaches you the way you learn and you suddenly realise YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!
To my fellow dyslexics : Please – Always listen to and feel that spark, follow where it leads and never stop believing in yourself or your dreams!
And lastly, but, by no means least, I want to end this blog by saying: Kevin Heart, Harry Ratchford, Joey, Wells, Matthew Kellard, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg, in my opinion as a dyslexia specialist teacher, an individual who is both autistic and dyslexic – THANK YOU – In my opinion you absolutely nailed it! #DyslexiaPositivelyUnique #PositiveilyDyslexic #NightSchool
www.theddc.org.uk @EliTheDDC @DyslexiaAwards @DyslexiaInfoDay 22/09/2020