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Has (Other) Room For Improvement

, , , , , , | Learning | November 27, 2017

(When I was growing up, a lot of teachers in my elementary school thought I had a learning disability. They based this on the fact that I couldn’t get into classroom routines and that I wouldn’t do math work. In actuality, I just didn’t understand the transitioning between subjects while still remaining in the same room, so I chose to continue doing subjects I liked, instead. They fought with my parents a lot over this, but my parents were adamant I had the necessary skills because I would read a book every night and could show them the math skills at home. They suggested that I just needed more time than the other kids. Apparently, the school decided to take matters into their own hands one day. Keep in mind, this was quite a long time ago, so inclusivity in classrooms wasn’t what it was today. There was a big show if you were taken from the class to work with the special needs educators. This happens after morning routine in grade three, when they come to collect the students that will be in the “special education room.” I am waiting for the dinosaur work we are going to do, when…)

Teacher: “[My Name], you’re going with these workers, too.”

Me: *confused* “What? Why?”

Teacher: “Because they will help you, [My Name].”

Me: “B-but I wanted to play with the dinosaurs.”

Teacher: “I am not going to argue with you! Go with them now!”

(Scared because she raised her voice, I get up and follow, embarrassed that everyone is watching me. I head with the group until we get to a small room. They keep other students out of this area, so I don’t understand why I am there. I am even more confused when they sit everyone around the table, and have us just identify numbers on the number line to start. I can do it easily and can’t understand why I’m not learning the multiplication work from my classroom. Then, they read out loud from a simple picture book, and I can’t understand why I can’t go back to my class and listen to the chapter book the teacher has been reading and that I really enjoy. I keep asking if I can read a book by myself, but they won’t let me. I am hoping I will go back to class eventually, but they keep me in there the whole day. I even have to eat lunch there. After school, before I meet my mom, I go back to my teacher.)

Me: “Ms. [Teacher], can I come back to class tomorrow? I don’t want to miss [Chapter Book].”

Teacher: “Oh, I’m sorry, [My Name]; you have to go back tomorrow.”

Me: *tearing up* “But I want to finish the book.”

Teacher: “We finished it today, so I can give it to your new teachers to read for you tomorrow.”

(This is when I start bawling, so my teacher tries to comfort me while she walks me to my mom. She then explains to my mom that I am upset because I missed the last chapter of a book.)

Mom: “I don’t understand. How did she miss it? Did she go to the bathroom?”

Me: *through tears* “I missed it because they took me to the other room, Mommy.”

Mom: “What other room?”

Teacher: “The special education classroom. It was [My Name]’s first time there, so she might need some adjusting, but I’m sure after a week or so, she’ll get use to the routine.”

(At this my mom’s eyes grow wide and she turns a shade of red I have never seen before.)

Mom: “My daughter was where?

(Apparently, somebody decided it would just be easiest if I went to the special education room so I wouldn’t be a bother. To make matters even easier, they were going to give me the exact same work and not adjust the workload to my needs. My mom was very angry that they did this behind her back. She yelled at the principal until it was sorted out and I was put back in my original class. I would like to note that I didn’t mind being with the other students; I actually enjoyed being with them. I was upset that they made a big show of taking me to the room so I didn’t feel included with the rest of the school. I was upset that the work wasn’t at my level, and that it wasn’t explained to me why I was there. Now that I’m older, it upsets me that the kids in that room were referred to as a “bother.” It also upsets me to realize that I could communicate my frustrations and something was done because of that, but there were students in there who couldn’t. As a result, I went on to become a teacher and receive my Masters of Education. With my own classroom, inclusivity is an important aspect, and I am proud of how far education has come today compared to when I was a scared grade three.)

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