Posts Tagged ‘lifelong learner’

“Why do you work so hard to help kids overcome learning difficulties?” – Readers

“What if you are smarter than you think?”

                   J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
                   Your Trusted Learning-Teaching Guide
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Why do I work so hard to help kids?

Many people have asked me, “What got you into the work of helping children and adults overcome learning difficulties of all kinds? How did you become a neurological learning specialist?”
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To digress for a moment:
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I prefer to use the words “learning difficulties” rather than “learning disabilities” because “difficulties” seem to encourage hope (if you work on your difficulties, you can probably overcome them). Whereas, “disabilities” seem to denote something permanent, like a crippled leg or something that is not easy to overcome.

So how did I get started?

I guess people are curious to know my career history, especially after they find out that I was very successful all the way through all of my schooling, right from grade 1 through to my postgraduate degrees.
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They wonder why I would care so much about struggling students when I had no experience with that myself.
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 Maybe a seed was planted when I was five years old. I got rheumatic fever and I was too sick to go into grade one with my friends. So my mom homeschooled me all the way through that grade one year. She was intelligent and a good teacher, so I did well, but perhaps I did feel a little bit of an “outsider,” being isolated from my friends at school.
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I do know that kids struggling in school sometimes feel like an “outsider,” alone and isolated in their anguish. Maybe later I resonated with having had some of that anguish when I was young.
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I didn’t know what career to pursue

When I finished my grade 12 year, I wondered what I should take at University.

I loved the English language, and loved being a member of the debating club, so I thought I might make a good lawyer. I didn’t want to be a corporate lawyer. Too dry and dusty I thought. 🙂

I wanted to be a trial lawyer, to handle what I thought would be exciting litigation work in the courtroom. Dramatic arguments in front of the jury and all that. 🙂

But then I was concerned that if I went into criminal law, I might end up accepting tainted or stolen money in order to earn a living. So I set that aside.

I was drawn to the world of healing (perhaps because I was so sick when I was younger), so I wondered if I should try to get into medical school. My Dad, a journeyman electrician, had a modest income and I felt that even if I worked hard to earn extra money (which I was doing all along), I could probably not afford the high tuition fees demanded by medical schools.

I did not want to run up a $200,000 student debt as some of my friends were proposing to do. (The equivalent medical student loan now runs to $350,000 – $400,000, I’m told.)

Yes, I could repay the debt out of my future physician income, but I have always been pretty cautious about debt.

(A friend of mine ran up a huge student loan debt, and then was struck down with an extremely rare medical condition and was unable to finish his medical degree, so he was/is “toast” in terms of income, both present and future.)

As my dear friend said: “It’s difficult to predict… especially the future.” :O

What would have the most impact long-term?

I thought about the impact of being a good lawyer, or being a good doctor, and I felt that the effects of my work with my clients or patients might, in one sense, be relatively short-lived.

Because it began to dawn on me (maybe because of something I was reading) that teaching, even though it wasn’t necessarily well-paying, could have long-term or even permanent effects if done well. All through mortality perhaps, and maybe even on into eternity if I turned out to be an outstandingly inspirational teacher. 🙂

Provided the students were learning well. And loved learning.

I was always such a learning sponge, voracious reader, knowledge “addict,” and ultimately an enthusiastic lifelong learner, that I wanted that for everybody I guess!

I became a fiery advocate of lifelong learning for all, and I realized that for struggling kids in school, that wouldn’t happen if they were learning to hate learning.

All kids should have a chance to love learning!

Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, Nov 25, 2014

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July 2019
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