punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Typing teacher

Sometimes it's kind of weird about my typing; I type at about 55/60wpm with 3 errors, and I do it all by hunt-n-peck. I know a lot of programmers out there who touch-type, and while it would be nice to know that, my dyspraxia has been an obstacle against that since I was a little kid.

I took typing class. I think it was the summer of 1983 when I showed up to some high school from June to August, learning typing in some accelerated program that fulfilled some elective I had to take as part of a "pre-pre-college-prep" kind of thing I had going since junior high. The teacher a really nice guy. I think he was normally a gym teacher, or at least he dressed like one: polo shirt and shorts. He had an upright posture, wavy hair, and excessively white teeth that gave him a kind of Hollywood sense of style. He was really easy-going, and let you bring Walkmans to class if you wanted to do all your lessons listening to music.

Yes despite all the ASDF and HJKL lessons, my typing was terrible. If I didn't look at my fingers, my hands went everywhere. After a few weeks of dismal progress on my part, he took the time to look up my school file.

"Gregory," he said to me one day after class. "Can I see you for a moment?" He was never mean to me, but it still had an ominous ring to it. He asked the straggler students typing for extra credit to leave the room for a moment while he spoke to me. I felt miserable, like he was going to say, "Your typing is so bad, I have decided to expel you."

"I looked up your school file, and noticed that you have been diagnosed with dyslexia with motor control problems, is that correct?" This was the first time I realized that the dyslexia "we weren't supposed to mention to father" was a permanent record. This was one of the things my dad said would happen, and that I would be labeled retarded and well, my reading teachers back in elementary school told me that wasn't really the case. I nodded, wondering what the hell was going to happen next. "Now, I have had a few dyslexics in my class before, and I know how to handle them pretty well. I know you're trying. You're trying real hard."

I felt like a sissy, but tears started to come down my cheeks. I was kind an easier crier back then; my depression hadn't fully numbed me.

"I just want you to relax. We're going to change how we do the lessons, and you'll pass this class just fine. And I wonder mention this to anyone else except the principal, if that's okay with you.."

And he kept his word. They gave me a different book to work from, and when I took my final exam, my typewriter did not have blank keys like the other kids had. I passed with a B.

I forget the teacher's name, but I want to thank him for his kindness and let him know that it did work out in the end.

Tags: childhood, school, typing speed
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