Learning to be right-handed in a left-handed world


Mr. Left-handed contemplating how to mess with his right-handed Mama.

I know. I know. It is not a left-handed world.

It is most definitely a right-handed world.

Just ask my left-handed son, who has on more than one occasion shared his disdain for the average pair of scissors.

Last year my school district became an Apple district and provided 13″ MacBook Airs for teachers as well as the 11″ version for high school students.  When I arrived home with my prize, my left-handed son, who was visiting from college, proceeded to set up my mouse, etc. to accommodate his left-handedness.

Not having any experience with such matters, his right-handed Mama had no idea of the significance of being made a left-handed Mac-user. During the school year, the only time I knew something was “amiss” was when another right-hander would use my mousepad to help me with something and ask what was wrong with my mouse.

This summer all MacBook Airs were required to be re-imaged by our IT department.

Yup, you guessed it. My MacBook Air has been returned to its factory default settings and is once again right-handed.

But, there’s a slight problem.

The reset to right-handedness means the ultimate Mac mouse irony is being played out as this right-hander turned left-handed Mac-user is now having to learn how to be a right-handed Mac-user.

No big deal, right?

Well, let’s look at this a little more philosophically.

How can we best relate to those students who learn differently from us?

What do I as an educator make of the student who is being forced to comply with the proverbial factory default setting of my classroom when it just isn’t a good fit for him or her?

Why does my brain literally hurt (a little) when I now use my MacBook Air mouse? (I realize I could make changes, but I like this challenge.)

I recommend everyone spend a day or two with a reset other-handed mouse pad just to get a feel of what it is like to live in the other-handed world.

You might be surprised at how difficult it really is, and, I am hopeful, will better empathize with those who learn differently from you.


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About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

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