I read recently that teachers tend to teach as they were taught. I hope, for my part, that that largely isn’t true (I heard that one teacher was teaching the very same lesson 12 years later!), but I am inclined to agree that our own deficiencies and difficulties tend to colour our viewpoint when we become teachers ourselves.
This blogpost then is a response to left-handedness. I am classically left-handed, having completed a test where seven key indicators showed I favoured my left hand over might right for pretty much everything, and would like to apportion the blame on some of my faults (appalling handwriting, subsequent speedy typing) to this.
I see the same lefties in my classes struggling with the same issues I did, and thought it might be worth sharing them with my blog readers. I hope it’s of some use.
Try where possible to put a lefty next to the edge of the table. If you put them to the right of a righty, all they do is knock each other’s elbows. For those of you who do seating plans (ha!), have you ever considered where the lefties sit? Why not mark this tomorrow on your plan and see if there are any clashes?
Ink is a nightmare as a lefty, both as a pupil and as a teacher. Watch a lefty writing – they are covering their work as they right, rather than revealing writing as a righty does. This is why they use one of several strange writing methods:
The Claw – an uncomfortable-looking grapple of the pen/pencil, once created to compensate for not being able to see your writing and which is now the default (I use The Claw).
The Seasick Note – This pupil has sussed they can’t see their writing, so they turn their books 90 degrees and have learnt to write this way. I don’t get how this works – it just does. Watch in admiration rather than asking them to turn the book ‘the right way’.
The Lergy – This pen style has the tip pointed as far as possible from the finger grip, in order to see the writing. This produces quite spidery writing on the whole.
Left handed scissors are a nightmare. I still can’t get them to work, and instead use right-handed scissors, accepting the pain that the smaller loop offers by digging into my thumb. You are far better to help them use right-handed scissors well than to stock left-handed scissors to be honest.
Ring binders – horrendous. Two great big hoops exactly where your hand is planning to move. Clipboards are far more easy use. See also: spiral notebooks (where deep lefties tend to turn them upside down; watch us rebel!)
Mice – We will accept your ironic use of left button as main button (mainly because it doesn’t cause too many problems), but we will probably move the mouse to the other side of the computer, and are unlikely to move it back either. It’s the whole toilet lid up/down debate again…
Whiteboard pens – smudge city. My first OFSTED inspection’s finest hour for me was the comments about my writing on the board. Try writing with your left hand on a whiteboard. You have to allow the pen to almost hover, in order not to smudge work, which you will anyway, because it is inevitable. This is also a good way to spot lefties in the staffroom – filthy sides-of-their-hand.
Books – If pupils are sharing books, please bear the lefties in mind. See Elbow Wars, above.
It isn’t bad of course. We lefties are apparently better tennis players, fencers and table tennis players, and we also have an advantage if we live in a castle and are attacked on a spiral staircase, all key skills I’m sure you’ll agree.
What have I missed? Are you a leftie? Any other tips to share?
Top image: Balloons (Rak #16)