Monday, February 15, 2010
Jefferson Found Happiness.
Jefferson sits on the front row closest to the window, by his request. He finds it easier that way - not only to see the board better, but also to keep his bad eye out of everyone else’s view. The teasing and laughter are things his heart can hardly bare so he protects himself by becoming invisible. He is the first to arrive at school. He sits closest to the window so he can look out as the others come in. He never raises his hand to speak and always steps back into the crowd when volunteers are called for. He has no opinions and never participates in group work.
In third grade Jefferson discovered special education. He noticed that the Special Education children were dismissed from class for several hours each day. One day, while walking by their classroom on his way to lunch, Jefferson noticed the Special students sat around one table. They were laughing and talking. He also noticed the Special students tended to be nicer to him than the others. Perhaps they knew what its like to be a bit different.
Jefferson watched the Special students closely to see what they did to get into the program. Many of them couldn’t read very well. Others had problem with their math. The ones that couldn’t read and couldn’t do their math were out of the classroom the longest. Jefferson knew what he had to do.
For the next few months Jefferson’s schoolwork declined at an alarming rate. His parents were called in for consultations. When asked why, Jefferson always replied “I just don’t get it.” Jefferson was examined by the family doctor and found to be in perfect health.
One night Jefferson realized he needed to take his quest to a new level. He went into his mother’s room, and layed beside her on the bed. He starting crying. He found it easy to cry. He carried enough in his heart to cry all day long if he wanted to.
“I need extra help at school,” he whispered to his mother. “I don’t understand what the teacher is talking about all the time.”
“Honey, do you want to go into the Special program for slower students? Is that what you want? I don’t understand what's happening Jefferson. You always did good in school. What’s happening?” his mother pleaded for understanding. Jefferson shrugged his shoulders. It was hard lying to her.
Two weeks later Jefferson started half day Special Education. He discovered it to be a safe place where he could let down his guard and be a natural curious boy. His mother noticed a marked improvement in his attitude about school. Her boy was coming home happy. Jefferson liked school, for the first time in his life. His Special teacher was kind and listened. She insisted every child participate and taught them self respect. She encouraged them to rise above their problems and work to overcome difficulties.
There were many times Jefferson wanted to get A’s for his new teacher, to show her how much he loved her. But he knew that if he did he would eventually be ‘mainstreamed‘ back into his room with 30 other students. It was something he couldn’t do.
So today, Jefferson is in the 4th grade. He spends half a day in Special Education and the other half in a normal classroom.
He’s a happier boy who carries a special secret everywhere he goes.