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Oct 10 2011

Headline Muse, 10/10

Philip Gardner was not a class cutter;
Didn’t sit in the back row and mutter
No, he spoke up in class!
But he did so, alas,
With a st-st-st-st-st-st-stutter

Headline: A Stutterer Faces Resistance, From the Front of the Class

A couple of thoughts. First, wow, what a great kid. Reminds me of a friend from a million years ago, freshman year at college. He had a profound stutter, which really got in the way of listening to his ideas. For about a week, until we all got used to it, slowed down, and did just fine. In his case, by our senior year his stutter was gone. In the meantime, he was a great friend with great ideas that were well worth waiting for.

Second… I used to stutter, and still… stammer. My students say they don’t notice it–take it as a sign of passion about the topic–but once in a while I get stuck on “the” or “but” or “and” and can’t get away for at least a half dozen repetitions or more. It’s part of who I am; I notice it, take a deep breath, and continue. I find myself identifying much more with the student than with the teacher in this story, despite having now spent more of my life as a teacher than as a student. Well, literally, anyway.

Third… I kinda feel sorry for the instructor in this case. The story, and the comments, make him out to be the villain. He’s not, really. I do disagree with how he handled it, but I really don’t think his choices were indefensible. Just not the best.

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