Monday, August 24, 2015

The kids who don't fit in

Since the start of the school year is upon is, I wrote this on my Facebook page:

Hey teachers and educators, the new school year is starting. As you get to know your new students (and do a hundred other beginning-of-the-year tasks, I know, I know) I ask you to take a couple minutes to consider your weird student. The odd kid. The one who doesn't get along and doesn't fit in, either socially or academically or behaviorally. Perhaps he has a special ed label, or maybe she doesn't and you wish she did. The one who's a pain. That kid.

If that kid is a pain to teach, imagine how painful it is for that kid to learn.

Being the perpetual odd one out is hard. It's a heavy load to carry six hours a day. Think back to the last time you felt left out, and multiply it by 180 days. To you, that kid is inconvenient...to that child, school can be impossible. And don't think that kid doesn't realize it...the girl who can't attend to task, the boy who can't control his outbursts...they know they're different.

So please, try to find the good in "that kid." You believe it's in every kid - it's why you went into teaching, right? Make this year about what he can do instead of pointing out again and again where she doesn't measure up. Maybe this is the year your weird kid can find his place.

I was heartened not only by the people who "liked" it, but the people who shared it. I hope people see it, and that people are willing to raise their fist - or, at the end of a long day, raise a glass - to the kids who don't quite fit in. The kids on the special ed of the spectrum, the gifted end, and everyone in between.

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