Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 25 Mar 2010

I want to work as a secondary school PE teacher but am worried my dyslexia will be a handicap.

Hillary's Advice

I understand why you are worried. To have problems with memory and spelling – your two particular difficulties – will make any job hard for you. But don’t give up your plans to train as a teacher.

After all, Edward Vickerman didn’t. People repeatedly told him that his dyslexia meant he had no future in the classroom. They said he had far too many problems to consider teaching. But he ignored them and last year won a national Teaching Award for being the country’s most outstanding newcomer to the profession. His colleagues at the Freeston Business and Enterprise College in Normanton, west Yorkshire, where he teaches – not surprisingly -- business and enterprise said he was a talented and skilled teacher who was determined all his students would succeed.

He has never hidden his dyslexia, and gets round the difficulty of writing on the board by relying on technology. In fact he says he considers his dyslexia a bit of a gift, because it helps him find new answers to problems and to empathise with students who struggle at school.

So go ahead and teach. Use all the help you can get to tackle your problems. Be open and confident in telling people about your difficulties and try, like Edward Vickerman, to reframe it to yourself as an advantage not a handicap. And remember, should your resolution ever waver, that there are plenty of teachers who have problems with spelling and memory. Most of them just aren’t as honest as you are!