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The paper bleed red

on March 22, 2013

There was a death. When one dies there is no resurrection only an emptiness of a spirit gone. The bloody mess lay before her. Her life came to a halt when the red began to run down the page as she lifted it up. It was murder.

It is one thing to point out errors, it is another to riddle a paper beyond recognition with red ink. This wasn’t a lazy student. The child had come day in and day out for help. The teacher never had the time to sit with this particular child because she was “special.” Why waste time on one who classified as hopeless? The teacher chose to kill the spirit instead of reaching out to help a struggling determined soul to rise about the dyslexia.

When questioned, the teacher would respond he was not going to pass a student just because there was an IEP. No one expected this from him. Teach, not destroy. Reach out, not ignore. Listen and understand, not shame or humiliate. A few extra minutes to check for understanding isn’t too much to expect of a professional. An extra worksheet to check MLA format or a quick glance to see if the basics were in line doesn’t take much time. It isn’t being unfair to the others. It isn’t showing favoritism. It isn’t above the call of duty. There is an IEP but the teacher had never even giving it a second thought other than the fact there was this problem sitting in the back of the room who was going to make life a challenge.

She never asked to be different. It would have been much easier if she was blind or had some physical problem people could easily identify. No, her disability was invisible. She looked just like the average kid. She talked and walked like them as well. There was no outward sign she was different until the paper was placed on her desk.  Her desk always bleed with red. That’s when they knew. Why was it the teacher ALWAYS let everyone know it was then she was different. She would live with the red and disappointing look of the teacher haunting her for days. The scars ran deep. The memories she would carry for a life time. She was marked as dumb, stupid, unworthy… an idiot. Those words might have never been said but that is what she heard within her mind traveling like a dagger to her heart.

The teacher never knew the girl who’s paper bleed red was a talented artist or a gifted singer. No one ever knew she was a shining star in so many other areas. But the light was dimming because in the “real world” a red  score determined her worth not her talents.

It is not about leaving them behind, it is about murdering a spirit. If you teach, read IEPS. I do not care how much you fuss, ADHD kids will not remember it all so give them a guide. They won’t be able to copy everything like the others so give them printed out notes so they can spend the extra time going over them while others copy from the board. All teachers have the notes any way, so there is no extra work involved. And about this fairness bit, it is fair they were born this way? No, not their fault.  But it is most definitely your fault for killing their spirit.

How can I say such? Because I was that child. My daughter was that child. And those I work with are those children. I have news for you, it only takes one believer to change a child’s life. When you see a paper that looks like a battle field, please think again about that battle within the child before you strike the last blow. They can learn if you just learn how to reach them.

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2 responses to “The paper bleed red

  1. midisparks says:

    i congratulate you on this important work and worthwhile blog. keep going!

  2. Mark Morris says:

    Donna, you don’t need validation from me, but this is a great post! This same concept could apply to a lot of people that are “different.” When people live outside of societal norms, for any reason, they tend to become invisible. “Normal” people don’t want to see them, or to be seen with them. When they are noticed, they are often the subject of ridicule or names. And when you hear something often enough, it becomes reality to you.

    Thank you for your writing. I’m looking forward to your next post.

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