Each day this week, I've been on duty in the library. For one such as myself, it's a great place to start the day---surrounded by books and good-natured children. Yep! A good way to begin. I love that I get to meet and greet students. Some teachers aren't fans of morning or afternoon duties (and I have my moments), but there are a couple of places on campus where I love to be. The library is one such place. Kids come in and look for friends to chat with, books to read and check out, and a table to finish homework. I approached a student this morning when I noticed he was working on math. I commented with some surprise and he asked, "Why are teachers so surprised that we're working on our math homework?" I stated that it wasn't something I was used to seeing so early in the school, but truthfully, it's rare to see a student doing homework unless they didn't finish it the night before. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I like it! Really! Others are milling around chatting and I'm even approached by some of my new students for a recommendation. Excellent!
Anyway---On to the brilliance of children...
I have a new student in class this year. Normally, she wouldn't be in the regular education classroom due to the severity of her disability. She has cerebral palsy. Not kinda, but really, really severe. Her communication is almost wholly non-verbal. She is able to communicate with the use of a communication device and a pointer that is positioned on her forehead. She's able to direct a mouse using this pointer. She's been in class the past couple of days and she's wonderful. The other students in class are noticeably better behaved and helpful. She has an aide, but also a few students who offer to carry her supplies or open doors or whatever they believe she may need. That being said, what makes her brilliant is her ability to smile a truly warm and tender smile that ignites the hearts of everyone she comes into contact with. Given her circumstances, I'm not sure many of us would be able to smile as brightly.
You know...I believe our diversity makes us stronger. By providing a safe environment where students of all backgrounds can interact meaningfully, we grow as human beings. (Yep! Me and the whole what does it mean to be human-thing...)
This blog's not too brilliant, but my interactions with brilliance in and out of my classroom make me a better teacher.
Thanks to all my brilliant students to helping me grow.