Wednesday, May 22, 2013


While these last few days of school are mostly occupied with fun and games, final testing already conquered, our Special-Ed unit yet requires some degree of “work as usual”, the kids acclimated to a routine and needing familiarity. Tuesday morning, therefore, with two of the boys doing something instructive on a computer and another piecing together a crossword puzzle elsewhere, I sat at a kidney-shaped table with three of the other children while the teacher attempted math problems with them on something called a “Smart Board”. One at a time each was individually called forward to count two sets of objects, the lesson being to merely conquer basic addition, but not an easy task for this group, even after a full year of approaching it from different perspectives. In watching the song and dance unfold, my thoughts went to this young man before me, his skill for this job having been made apparent to me these past nine months, patience, compassion, and simply some inner source of “grit” necessary when the only reward is the relationship acquired as you go. Surely there are times when you ask yourself why you’re here, the educational system, itself, often the biggest question mark. Paper work. People. Principled paths with demands that seemingly make no sense. Somewhere along the way, though, the soul in this child before you connects with your heart, something beyond the undisciplined behavior, an inner spark that breaks through the fog and holds you so as to create a bond. The rest of it doesn’t matter after that happens, or at least not enough to dissuade the desire to return. You give it all to God and He walks with you through the details. “One more year” has turned into eleven thus far, this one maybe the best yet; and while summer break is welcomed with enthusiasm, in truth there is, within me, that which looks forward to August…….


  1. Made me smile, Jim. Yes, those moments when the connection is made are like the warmth of the sunshine breaking through the clouds. And at that point, all the bureaucracy fades in our memory just like those forgotten cloudy days.

    Btw, really enjoy the Smart Board though our school has opted for the Mimio Board instead likely because it's a bit cheaper. What an amazing tool; the kids love using it and I can't say I miss the chalk dust which used to wreak havoc on my hands.

    1. Speaking of "moments", Mich, our last meeting this year, the final gathering of the staff with the principal, was this morning and what a spread! They had about three long tables filled with pastries and sausage sandwiches, quiche, potluck dishes galore, it was a feast. The meeting, itself, lasted less than two hours and I was on my way home at ten-thirty, four hours back on the two weeks I "give" them for free each year. Good to be into summer break, but am, in truth, looking forward to August....

  2. Wow, not a bad send-off!! Hope you filled your pockets! ;-)

    Happy first day of holidays! Now go grab a fishing pole or climb into some shade-covered hammock for a little snooze or something.

  3. I love hearing you talk about your students and the connections you share with them!

  4. My experiences with them would make a good book, Annie; but I have to be careful about revealing too much, their family and their life not mine to expose here. Suffice it to say I am grateful to have known all these kids...