Now this week hasn't exactly been my average one. Despite the fact I'm still technically off work for the spring holidays, being without work, and therefore pay, for the last couple of weeks has taken its toll, so I volunteered to spend some time this week doing some exam invigilation at a local(ish) high school, where I ended up acting as a reader for a pupil with additional needs. Now being a reader is just that...you can read the questions on an exam paper, or any additional material that the student will need to refer to when answering the questions (unless the exam is specifically testing reading skill, then it's a different story), but that's as far as my role went...I couldn't paraphrase the questions or explain their meaning in any way, and although I was supporting my student by reading when she needed me to, for the rest of the time she was on her own. And it was so hard to sit back. So hard to sit and watch her struggle; to see her thinking for a good 5 minutes about what to write, write a little bit, then cross it out in sheer frustration, so hard to keep quiet when I was dying to define a vital word to her; a word that was so crucial to her understanding of an essay question that I felt like screaming its meaning at the top of my lungs, so hard for me as I felt so useless; but I know that however hard it was for me, she was finding it equally so. And I don't ever remember feeling like that about an exam before...maybe odd questions here and there, but never for a whole paper.
And that's why I'm feeling thankful. Because I've been lucky enough to be blessed with more than enough intelligence for my needs...I find it easy to pick most things up and have a good memory which has proved invaluable to me in exam situations. I've never really struggled academically...if you asked me, I'd say I found maths tough at high school, but I still got an A in my GCSEs. And yes I worked damn hard for that A, probably harder than I'd ever worked before or since, but it was still an A... a grade that lots of my friends could never even have dreamed of. And because I've never struggled with school work, I've sometimes found it hard to comprehend that others can, and even found myself getting impatient when people are failing to grasp things that, to me, seem simple. But as of this week, I'd like to think that that's changed. That I'm hopefully changed. Because I've taken things for granted that I really shouldn't, and looking at things from the other side of the coin has really helped to bring that home to me. I'll be thankful for my intelligence every day from now on, because my life, and world, would be totally different without it.