As these brave little students prepared to say their first words, it may seem silly that they needed “teachers” in the first place. But with lisping, gibberish and the changing accent that can accompany a stutter, it’s easy to get frustrated and quickly forget that the students are there because they speak English.
Ms. Kudish, who is Kolochenko’s mother, was worried about the children, and began to think about learning skills and strategies in Spanish.
“We were thinking about starting on something simple and begin with only two kids, and then build it up,” Ms. Kudish said. The family chose to participate in Teach for Mexico’s educational program.
The message for teachers — and schools, for that matter — is this: Students who stutter can have great potential. But they will need lifelong support and understanding, from a child who is ten years old to the middle-aged member of the community.
Beyond helping kids master the basics — such as sitting up straight — the program asks teachers to keep in mind that what they hear in the classroom might not always translate into what their students say. Along with the knowledge that students are more skilled at lip-reading and reading lips than they may realize, they must also be sure that other children are listening when it comes to language.
Students themselves often don’t have the same simple explanation for why they stutter: “Some people think it is because they laugh. Some think it is because it takes away from what I say.”