When I was four years old (or so they say), I taught myself to read. My mom helped by labeling all the things in the house: Lamp, Counter, Fireplace. But supposedly I did the figuring out myself. I don't remember it; I can't remember NOT knowing how to read. I know that my little sister begged Mom to teach her to read too, which Mom regretfully could not do. She was a speech pathologist and diagnostician, not a reading teacher...and she hadn't taught me. I'd just learned it.
I learned it well enough, and got such wonderful enrichment work in my private preschool, that I was a freaky good reader by the time I went to first grade. This was in 1970 or so, and before kindergarten was mandatory.
We were sitting in a circle on the floor the first day (there were no chairs in this experimental school - have you seen my posture?!) and everyone got a copy of Fun With Dick and Jane...they struggled through, word by word, and I waited impatiently until it was my turn, and then I read the whole page.
Everyone looked at me.
In fairly short order, I was booted up to second grade during language arts time. This experimental elementary school had a system of individualizing learning by putting each student's work in a cardboard magazine box, and we turned it in by leaving the completed work there for the teacher. It worked okay for me in that area, but was later disastrous in math...that's a different story, though.
Mrs. Fowler, who was the LA teacher, one day gave me a phonics lesson and some phonics worksheets to do.
And I could.not.bear.it. I didn't like phonics, didn't understand it, didn't need it, and it took my beautiful letters and words and made them horrible and ugly. "Schwa." Isn't that an UGLY word!? and the symbol representing it is not better:
So I ignored the phonics worksheet. And Mrs. Fowler left a note, "Mary Beth, please do the phonics worksheet."
I threw it away.
And this happened several times.
I don't remember exactly what happened, but I'm sure that eventually I did the horrible worksheet. I never liked phonics, did my best to avoid it. In college, as an English major, I loved the part of Linguistics that was about the history of languages, but it was all written in those damnable symbols and I hated it.
And moving ahead to my life today, I find that pattern continuing...the avoidance of things that I feel uncomfortable doing...that I fear I might be caught out as a fraud...the unwillingness to ask for help.
I'm just saying.