I saw the film, which is a true story, and it really spoke to me. It showed how two people (Bertie, the King, and Lionel, the speech therapist) worked together through many tough times to overcome a challenge. It was a challenge that had followed the new king from the time he was young and had labeled him (by himself and others) as UNable.
Bertie was the Duke of York, second in line to inherit the throne. The problem: he had a speech impediment and could not speak in public. His wife had been trying to support him by looking for help for him for some time. She finally came across a very special therapist named Lionel Logue. Lionel was an Australian speech therapist who believed that he could help Bertie, but only if Bertie was willing to follow his rules. At first, Bertie was very stubborn and thought it was useless. But Lionel had lots of tricks up his sleeve. He had Bertie read a passage while listening to music with headphones and recorded his reading. Bertie stormed out, saying he would quit.
Before meeting Lionel, Bertie had gone through silly tricks by doctors to try to make him better. They tried stuffing his mouth with marbles, or told him to smoke a lot to calm himself. They felt sorry for him and couldn’t do much to help.
Lionel did not feel sorry for Bertie. He had faith in him. Bertie agreed to work with Lionel and try his techniques, and there were many of them. Bertie found that he could actually sing his words rather well. He could pick a favorite song he liked and sing his words to the melody of the song. Another way he could say his words was through cursing, a lot. He wasn’t a very good curser at first but Lionel opened him up. Bertie began to see that there was hope. He began to work hard every day, during his sessions and also at home. Even through the time of the death of his father, he still practiced every day. By the end of the movie, Bertie started to see himself in a new way and eventually found tools that helped him speak in public.
This movie relates to me in a variety of ways, in my own learning situation and in my workplace. My school, Scholars Together Learning Community, works with many types of students and focuses on finding a learning style that works for each student. Each student is encouraged to do his best and to work past challenges, even those that have been there for a long time. The work is hard, especially at first because some of us had resorted to taking the easy way out.
I needed to find new and effective ways to deal with others when helping them, since I am the oldest student, and also when helping myself in this environment. My teachers are good examples for us because they use a variety of methods and techniques to show us how capable we are, even if we have had many so-called bad experiences in other learning environments and have forgotten to believe in ourselves anymore. They show us that we can believe in ourselves and our talents, and that the work is not always easy, but it is worth it in the long run. I have watched students (including myself) be nudged to keep trying, much like Lionel would refuse to let Bertie quit when he was frustrated. They, like Lionel, keep trying until they find the methods that work for each of us.
When I first showed up at Scholars, like when Bertie met Lionel, I had a hard time doing the required work. I was out of practice of putting forth my best effort and was also stubborn, like Bertie. I never really gave anything much of a chance and just let myself fade into the patterns I had used in my other schools.
I feel a connection with this movie and how things work in my school now. I see that almost anything is possible when someone is ready to work past his or her difficulties. Somehow my teachers nudged me to try, to care about myself, to believe in myself and to be willing to work really hard in the areas in which I stumbled or had given up in the past. Like Bertie, I used all kinds of ways to get out of the work, to drag my feet in the process. But finally I just went for it. It was kind of like going to work out at the gym after not being there for a while. It is hard, it takes stamina, it takes perseverance, and it helps a lot to have support. Now this type of work-out is becoming a habit and I have seen more of my capabilities, and that keeps me going. Like Bertie, when he listened to the recording of himself and saw what was possible, I too know that good things are possible for me. I am proving that to myself and I also feel more empathy for others who are dealing with a challenge.
written by Josh Gendleman, Scholars Together student