I had been teaching for about five years when I had one parent call me and ask to set up a conference. She told me that she was very concerned about her son and needed to come in as soon as possible. We  been in school for less than a week but I readily agreed to meet with her the following day. The mother exclaimed that if at all possible she and her husband would both prefer to speak with me that very day. I told her that I would be happy to meet with them after school and asked if she could give me an idea about what they needed to talk with me about. She was very vague but said it was his writing.

When they entered the classroom that afternoon, both wore solemn expressions. The dad began talking immediately once they sat down. He explained that both parents were very upset because their son was left-handed. He went on to say that they had been trying to get the child to switch hands but so far had been unsuccessful. At that point, the mother interjected that she had heard that left handed people have "mental problems" and that she was very worried for her son.

I paused for a moment and then said "Let me take some notes" as I picked up my pencil with my left hand. You guessed it... I am a leftie too! I watched both parents' jaws drop in unison as far as is humanly possible. I smiled and said "I didn't mean to interrupt, please go on." They just continued to stare at me slackjawed.  I explained to them that there is no research that supports that superstition. They listened quietly, thanked me and said they couldn't agree with me more. If I had to guess who made it out the door first, I honestly couldn't do it. One minute they were thanking me and the next minute they were both hightailing it for the door.

I never heard from them again that year. When we had our Spring conference, hand preference was never mentioned. That young man would be in his thirties now and I hope he is still writing with his left hand....if he wants to!

24 comments

  1. Kelly // February 19, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

    Haha! Too funny! I'm glad you found me, your blog is hilarious!

  2. Jamie // February 19, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

    that's funny! I'm a lefty too and so is my hubby in fact, but I'm sad to say that I think both my children are righties! I think lefties may be a bit more "creative" but no mental issues here...as far as I can tell!

  3. Joanne // February 19, 2010 at 5:32 PM  

    I'm not surprised they were speechless! You accomplished more with picking up your pen than any words could convey!

  4. Pam // February 19, 2010 at 6:18 PM  

    Lol! That is too funny. As one of those lefties with "mental problems" I think you handled that situation perfectly!

  5. Nancy Van Blaricom // February 19, 2010 at 7:20 PM  

    Love your blog .... what a hoot. I'll be back for sure.
    Thanks for the generous/kind comments about my Virtual Paintout post. It was so fun....

  6. Melissa // February 19, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

    that is funny...we are not sure if our son is left or right-handed!! Although he will be starting T-ball this spring and the coaches are already telling us to teach him to bat left handed.....I can't wait to read more of your blog!! and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. Sherri // February 19, 2010 at 8:22 PM  

    LoL! That is such a sweet story! I love it! My oldest is a lefty also!
    I am your newest follower and super excited about your blog!

  8. Mandi Miller // February 19, 2010 at 10:21 PM  

    Oh wow! That is insane! Thank you for commenting on my blog! I'm following you now from Friday Follow!

  9. Kelly // February 20, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

    ...oh! What a wonderful site you have. My cousin and my good friend are both teachers (1st and 3rd grades), I'm going to send them both over to your blog! Funny story....my brother is a lefty, and I always wished I was because it was so cool! :-)

  10. ellen // February 20, 2010 at 1:34 AM  

    Hi, I am left handed too! You have accomplish something extraordinary! I am happy for you! Can you let me know how you did the advertisements so well?
    Have a great weekend!

  11. Menopausal musing // February 20, 2010 at 5:36 AM  

    Wonderful story. Thanks for the comment on my blog..... :O)

  12. Pam // February 20, 2010 at 7:09 AM  

    Well handled on your part! :)
    Thanks so much for the visit and the lovely comment. Come back anytime. I also have two other blogs......if you need extra to read!! lol.

  13. VKT // February 20, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  14. VKT // February 20, 2010 at 8:04 AM  

    Thanks to each and every one of you for visiting!

  15. Being Me // February 20, 2010 at 11:45 AM  

    Thank you for your kind comments on my site.

    Re: lefties's parents.. what a load.. I have 2 lefties among my kids....and they are no different from the righties who are just as mental...



    ...(kidding !!!)..

    I enjoyed reading your last couple of posts. Will be back to visit.


    BM

  16. VKT // February 20, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

    Thanks BM....you are a hoot!

  17. Willow and Wattle // February 21, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

    Just found your blog, but found this post interesting. I am also in my 30's and am a lefty. When I first started school, my mother made a point of telling the school administration that I am left handed and would remain a left hander. At some point this was challenged by a well meaning substitute teacher.

    Upon my casual mentioning as a 5 year old of a teacher saying I should use my right hand to cut paper, and with just one or two questions from my mother, I never again encountered a teacher who tried to make me use my right hand.

    It wasn't until I was 10 that I found out the superstitions surrounding left handedness. My aunty had the same problem, but being raised in an earlier generation had definately faced a more serious (and rare medical complication due to the attempted switch) battle being a lefty -ultimately why my mother insisted on my remaining a lefty

  18. veterankindergartenteacher // February 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

    Willow,

    I wasn't as lucky as you were. When I was in first grade, I remember Mrs. Smiley (she was anything but) pulling my ears when I went to use my left hand. She told my parents that I HAD to use my right hand.

    I never had another teacher mention my hand preference but I never forgot Mrs. Smiley either. I knew that I didn't want to be anything like her!

  19. Theresa Milstein // February 21, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

    I'm left handed too. I don't know if I would've handled it as well as you did.

    My kindergarten teacher tried to force me to write with my right hand. She must've been the last teacher on the planet to still do that. My mother made a big deal, even buying me a left handed scissor to use in the classroom.

  20. GregoryJ // February 23, 2010 at 5:19 PM  

    They were probably taught by some old nuns. I've heard stories about how they tried to force my uncle not to use his left hand.
    Funny, those superstitions exist.
    You probably know Latin for left is sinestra, so they all thought lefties were sinister.

    I've read other of your postings here. Very well told.
    Thank you.

  21. The Honorable Mention // February 24, 2010 at 4:02 PM  

    Good for you!
    What wisdom you used in 'hand'-ling that awkward situation.
    You really give the profession a great name!

  22. VKT // February 25, 2010 at 10:49 PM  

    Theresa,

    Ms. Smiley tried to do the same thing to me!

  23. VKT // February 25, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

    Thanks Gregory! I am glad that those silly superstitions are not as prevalent today!

  24. VKT // February 25, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

    How kind of you to say so Gregory! I really enjoy your blog!