As I presently stand I have been lucky enough to have completed over 700 hours in schools as part of my first and second year practicum. That number is staggering to me and it doesn't include the hours I'll complete between now and June. I feel so lucky to have accumulated so many hours, resources and experiences during my time at my placements. The other day I was working on my resume update for my portfolio and I thought back on all of the experiences I have had so far. I soon recognized the immense amount of knowledge I have gained since entering my program. I don't know how its possible to have accumulated so much in such a short amount of time but I have. However, in reflecting on it, it all seems so disjointed and hard to apply to what I have been doing so far...until this week.
Today I presented at meeting that helped shed light on the integration of my experiences and my classroom based learning/readings. It was a student I had done a significant amount of testing on, which tends to happen at my site (yay for having resources!), and I found myself struggling trying to bring it all together in the report. I wrote what I thought was going on and sent it off to my supervisor for a look. We met to discuss and analyzed my findings. We then asked for the academic testing to do a discrepancy analysis. After seeing the student's performance on pseudoword decoding, the picture we had begun to paint finally made sense. We had a kid with difficulties of rapid naming, a very poor working memory, and very weak phonological awareness/decoding skills..the hallmarks of dyslexia.
I finally had a case that was not ADHD but something that required me to use all that I had learned so far in my training. It felt so satisfying to have a resource to refresh my memory/knowledge (Overcoming Dyslexia by Shaywitz) and inform my meeting presentation. I had my main points, I stuck to them (very atypical for me, especially when I'm nervous), and sounded somewhat articulate. I got compliments from colleaguees/supervisors. It felt amazing.
This was the first case that brought the big picture together. All those details I learned last year that were buried deep inside my memory informed our decision. So, my advice to students who feel overwhelmed by the disjointed-ness that can be graduate school...have no fear! You too will have a case that pulls it altogether for you and man does it feel satisfying. Be patient young grasshoppers :)
Until next thyme,