Yesterday I met a student whom I’ll call “Cynthia.”
She has moderate to severe learning disabilities, anxiety, and emotional distress. I cannot reference the cause of her distress, but suffice it to say, her scumbag father is not allowed near her (and her mother isn’t equipped to raise her).
She is now in foster care.
When she walked into the classroom that I was visiting, I didn’t know if she was a student, or a class aide. There is nothing to indicate anything other than a normal young girl. Of course, the class assignment — a “spelling” lesson — revealed much more.
She struggled, but participated in every aspect of the assignment. She was engaged, conversed with other students, and even answered the classroom phone (this is one of her responsibilities).
At the end of my visit, her teacher explained that above all, students like Cynthia need daily encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Like most of you, I cannot empathize with parents who are raising, or educators who are teaching, kids like Cynthia. I can only exercise compassion and understanding.
The visit was emotional and eye-opening, and while I didn’t leave in great spirits, I found some solace in what the teacher said: Despite Cynthia’s disabilities and experiences, she comes to class happy. Every day. Oh … and she loves to dance.
Dance, Cynthia, dance!by