Tonight I had a pleasant surprise when I met a friend who is also a member of Special Gathering during my late afternoon walk. My friend, M.J. was meeting with her reading tutor in the park. Her tutor explained that they often take a walk in the park to help M.J. loosen up and prepare her for her next reading assignment.
At the time I saw them, they weren’t walking but M.J. was reading out loud. I came on them at the end of her lesson; and by the time I reached them, they were preparing to leave.
It seemed interesting to me that M.J.’s teacher wanted to explain to me why they had her lessons in the park. It is a very public place. In fact, it was such a busy spot that I wondered if M.J. would be comfortable reading out loud with all the people who stroll through the area.
Understand, I’m not questioning this tutor’s methods or abilities. What I did question was the propriety of having an adult woman learning to read in this public park at a time when people are routinely walking their dogs, exercising and meandering through the area. In conducting a reading lesson, it is logical that the student must read out loud. Thereby, the teacher can access the effectiveness of her instruction.
I’ve heard my friend read. Her ability is at a kindergarten to first grade level. I have my Master’s degree and I would be self-conscious reading aloud in such a public venue. M.J. is a sharp, stylish young woman in her early twenties. If comfortable in her surroundings, she can be boisterous. But her typical behavior is shy and withdrawn. I cannot imagine that she is able to function at her best while reading in the park.
Over the years, I seen men and women who are professionals use a lack of judgement regarding the feelings and emotional well-being of people who are intellectually disabled. My concern is that this is another case of a well-meaning teacher finding an atmosphere which puts her student at a disadvantage.
Am I overreaching and overreacting? Or do you think another place would be more appropriate to hold a reading lesson?