Anything Left-Handed > Research > Survey on School Experiences

Survey on lefthanders' school experiences

Over 1,000 Club Members have now completed the survey on left-handers' school experiences and we want to thank you all for taking the time to share your stories. Our early analysis supports the evidence we were seeing in emails and from talking with members and customers that left-handers are still getting a far from equal service from their schools. Some of the statistics are quite worrying and we will definitely be on the campaigning trail soon to raise awareness among teachers on how to help their left-handed pupils.

We had a huge number of comments from people telling us about their own experiences in all areas of our survey. We have included a few examples in the main analysis and a link to a full page of each as we think others may find them instructive and it may reassure lefties who are having problems that they are certainly not alone.

See the full results and analysis of the survey here

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117 comments on “Survey on School Experiences
  1. Hana says:

    At primary school my teacher wouldn’t let me use a pen because she said I smudged the ink everywhere when I wrote and I am always told I hold my pencil weirdly.U

  2. Chris A. says:

    I am strongly left handed, dyslexic, have ADD and come from a family of lefties and my Dad a lefty converted to right hand. I learned to write with my left hand and originally wrote from the top right of a page to the bottom which was very legible if you held it up to a mirror. I was fortunate in that my early teachers didn’t try to change hands, but placed me in the rooms at the left end of tables so I wasn’t bumping righties. Art and music came early and I was seated with other students with similiar talents. At our art table, three of the six are lefties. Comments about handwriting difficulties are valid as I have to write with my hand curled over the top of the paper. I still use a fountain pen with a custom fine nib and I now have legible handwriting. In music I did learn to play a trumpet and baritone with the right hand without difficulty. With piano, I have a much stronger and nuanced left hand. The only times I’ve felt being left handed was an advantage was in pitching baseball and later doing hobby auto repairs, I couldreach and do things with just a left hand that frustratd righties. Shooting most repeating firearms is dangerous as the hot spent shells eject directly across the face. My daughter is left handed and we kid each other about what we have to do to cope.

  3. Kailey says:

    I have recently began college, but I can recall my experiences with being left handed in kindergarten. I lived in a rural area when I was six, so half of my year of kindergarten was spent in homeschool by my mother. Being that my father was lefthanded, he understood the ugliness we lefties face in a right- handed world, and insisted to my mother that I should not be caudeled by using products specially crafter for lefties; that I should struggle with outlandish right-handed contraptions and learn to cope. When my family moved into the city when I was halfway done with kindergarten, my teacher was very accommodating to my left handed ness, and was beyond happy to supply me with special but unattractive lefty scissors, and I remember crying because I didn’t understand how to use them! I had adapted to using my left hand with right handeded scissors, and that was the end of it! 😂 in highschool a teacher saw me cutting with my left hand and told me that lefties are always the most innovative people in the world because the right handed world forces them to look out of the box and to see things differently, and I never agreed more!

  4. Abigail says:

    I am currently a senior in high school and homeschooled. But when I was in public school I had a slightly difficult time growing up a lefty. In 1st grade, I was told various times by my teacher that I was holding my scissors wrong and that I was cutting incorrectly. When I switched to the other side, I cut even worse! But I was only six, so I did not know to associate my ‘clumsiness’ with being forced to use right-handed tools in my left-hand. Until I think I
    had a parent-teacher conference that my parents explained to my teacher. Then they said that also explains
    why I hold my pencils differently and smudge a lot.
    As I grew older, I started gaining recognition as ‘the lefty’ when I was in 5th grade. Still, I did not completely
    pay attention to ‘left-handed awareness’. I did always think to myself why eating at the cafeteria and sitting at my school desk was so uncomfortable and annoying. And I was always asked by fellow classmates why I wrote ‘weird’ and why I held my pencil towards the bottom and not like they did. It wasn’t until I was in 7th grade that I was able to understand why I was asked these questions. And when I would go to gym, playing softball threw off
    all my right-handed classmates. In middle school I was associated as being very artistic, a good writer, and etc.
    because of my left-handedness, which is a bit stereotypical but true. Anyway, now that I’ve been homeschooled
    I don’t have as much a hard time except that my work desk can still be a bit uncomfortable. Other than that,
    I just go through the everyday lefty struggles: right-handed can openers, cell phones, writing in binders, fruit peelers, notebooks. But I am not alone; I have a younger brother who is left-handed and a friend who understands the lefty-struggle. It’s strange, though, because my brother and I are the only ones in our immediate family that is left-handed. What about all of you? Is left-handedness common or rare in your family?

  5. nancy says:

    Teachers today would be arrested for assault and child abuse if they treated left handed kids the way they did when I started school in the late 60’s.
    I used to get struck on my left hand every day in primary school by the teachers with a yard stick.
    Not to mention the occasional whack on the back of the head.
    The crayon snatched out of my left hand and told to hold it in my right hand to write.
    I was also constantly told by a number of teachers that I was stupid because I was left handed.
    Every primary school morning started the same as I would always used my left hand.
    All their torture was in vain as I am, and always will be, left handed.
    Oh how I would like to confront those teachers now.

  6. Sascha says:

    Although I went to a Catholic school it was quite progressive and I was allowed to use whichever hand I wished without judgement. The only real problem I had was switching from pencil to pen. It took me a very long time to adjust and I held onto the pencil as long as I could. My penmanship suffered at the change and I still prefer felt-tips and pencils to ballpoints to this day. When I was 12 my older brother bought me an old fashioned fountain pen to encourage my penmanship. I found I liked that too, handing long since mastered turning the page.

    Because I have ambidextrous tendencies in some things I did okay with scissors in my right hand (to a point) and cricket and softball bats and tennis racquets can swing both ways. Sport was never an issue (though I am not a natural athlete!) right up until we had a golf taster class in first year secondary school and I was too embarrassed to ask for a left handed club. Needless to say I didn’t impress with my driving prowess that way.

    I was very lucky I never felt discriminated against for my handedness. I think it was just the luck of landing at a school with a sensible policy. Also the fact my best friends were identical twins (as were my older sisters, one of whom is a leftie and the other a rightie!) was far more interesting to the other kids than what hand I wrote with.

  7. Tara says:

    The only time someone told me hold to hold my pencil as a left-hander was when a left-handed substitute teacher pointed out how to hold it. This was in 8th grade. The only other time was in 2nd grade when I was told which way to tilt my paper. Sad.

  8. Kinsey says:

    Im a letfie(south paw) and i have dyslexia i always see things backward or upside down like to day in volleyball tryout they asked for my number and i said 12 but thats because i was looking upside down my number was actually 21 everyone laughed but my school and volleyball club(ethos) i have to tell them im a leftie bcuz they have to ajust like a school we play hockey the sticks are only for righties and the desks i heard that 250,000+ die from right handed equipment and i always get asked why i have pen in my had and i always have to say from smearing and i always have to rewrite EVERYTHING bcuz i smear way too much but i can juggle and uts bcuz i use different parts of my brain which i good sometimes anyway… if anyone can help with the smearing problem plzzz comment below👇👇👇👇👇👇

  9. Lynn says:

    Maybe it is just because I live in such a rural area but I had such a terrible time in school because I was left handed…and then I had my son
    who was left handed until he broke his arm in kindergarten. Even after the cast was off the school and teachers encouraged him to be right handed, even when in 1st grade when he started writing by copying off the board he did it in a complete mirror style. I was repeatedly told he was right handed and to stop ‘interfering’ with his teachers or they would be forced to notify the authorities…This was in 2002, and I was and still am beyond frustration. He’s constantly had problems with learning things, they complain that its like he needs to sit and think about how to do it before he can actually do something…and he does have to think about it, he has to switch it and then re switch it!! Because I know he was completely left handed until he broke his arm on the play ground half way through kindergarten! Though if I bring this up I am told he was too young to know which hand he used…yay for the american public school system and their infinite knowledge on which hand you should use.

  10. Sonia B.-Inkster says:

    I am left-handed, and have attended up to graduate studies. It is interesting how the electrical outlets in classrooms and libraries favour right handed computer users. The table and chair are centred while the outlet is on the left end of the table, or to the left of the chair.

    For left handed people who use a device to the left of the laptop, this means that device is on top of the outlet! After a few moments of frustration, I brought this up to the attention of the maintenance department and they had to admit they had not considered the option of placing outlets in a neutral position – middle of the table) or on both ends.

  11. Name says:

    I am left handed, I am still in school. The teachers in my school think left handed people are special and they are, for some reason, treated better (the cutlery we use to eat at lunch is very easy for left handed people to use, we are given a lot more help and the handwriting books we use are designed for lefties to be able to use easier than other books we’ve used in the past) rather than the righties being treated better. A lot of left handed people are doing much better (they are getting better marks in tests and having better handwriting in my school) and all the righties in my school treat me like a higher being; they are being nicer to me than some of my right handed friends. I don’t know what causes it, it’s just not the same as others. Looks like I was right about being left handed

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I and my older sister are left handed. My sister was forced
    to change to her right hand for writing. She remembers it being very
    traumatic. Her penmanship and spelling skills have always been a
    challenge for her. I have similar issues with my handwriting. My
    teachers initially tried to switch me to my right hand, but I was on
    the cusp of the time in the 60’s when they stopped forcing kids to
    switch to right hand writing, and I kept using my left hand whenever
    they weren’t looking, they dropped it about second grade. I was forced
    however to walk to each desk in my class and show them how sloppy my
    copy book was and teachers clearly didn’t believe I was trying really
    hard to neaten my writing. That was traumatic. I did do a lot of
    letters switched backwards when I was little.
    There were certainly no left handed scissors or other tools or left
    handed seating or binders. Binders and lecture hall desks I really
    wish they had in college! A lifetime of twisting your spine to be
    able to write in school is very unhealthy for developing spines at
    minimum. Especially when at work or school since that is at least 8
    hours a day. I have clear memory of my back hurting badly partly
    through the day at school.
    My sister and I come from a family with eleven children- not as
    uncommon back then- We are the two people in the family who paint,
    draw and have a passion for art.
    I am an RN. I’ve read on a couple of occasions that there is an
    extremely high percentage of lefties in the medical field. Over 30
    years my colleagues and I always polled amongst ourselves, and we
    always found it to be true. For about half my career I worked in
    Emergency Trauma Centers. I worked in 3 different ED’s. We also always
    polled this unusual phenomenon and found at least 97% of our staff was
    left handed each time. Phenomenal! I have opinions as to why such a
    high percentage there, but I’ll only share that if interest is
    expressed.
    Hope you found something interesting in there. 🙂

  13. Carolina says:

    My kindergarten years were a nightmare that still haunts me. I had problems with cutting and coloring. Teachers didn’t teach me, they ignored me because I did it with my left hand. And then, of course, I did it all wrong and colored outside the line. And then these horrible teachers sent me to the front of the class and showed my drawing and then told my classmates that I was the worst in the class, and they would all laugh. Then the teacher would rip my drawing to pieces and put it in the bin, right in front of me. I learned not to cry, but I didn’t learn how to color properly and I still can’t. I’ve had trouble ever since making acquaintances with classmates, because I always feel this will happen again. During later education, I’ve continued to color horribly, I still cannot do it. In college, I took a class where I had to draw and color maps, and it was a nightmare.

    I also have a lot of trouble with the benches. The palette is always on the right side, and when I sit crooked for hours, my left side hurts like hell.

    • Sonia B.-Inkster says:

      I am so sorry your school experience was so bad. I can relate to some of the humiliation – kindergarten, grade two and then again grade three until I learned to learn by myself.

      I am now in education, and am sad to say some of the issues persist – seating arrangements for one.

      As for colouring – ignore the lines. Your ability to visualize is more important than the need to stay within the lines. I colour over the lines sometimes, just to remind myself that it looks better that way 🙂

      Happy healing to you

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