Students Of Life

, , , | Learning | August 9, 2016

(I work as a TA in a special-ed program. My students go out to content classes and are mixed in with regular-ed kids. I help them take notes, make study guides, etc. One of my students has several tics and on this particular day, they are pretty bad. My student is working on a new goal of speaking up for himself. We are getting him to try to ask people nicely to please stop what they are doing, twice, before we intervene. This time, the second “please stop” doesn’t work and on my way to intervene, this exchange happens.)

Student #1: “You know what, [Student #2]? [Student #3] asked you to stop. He asked you twice to stop. And he said please. You need to stop what you’re doing and listen to his words. He doesn’t understand when you’re joking. He can’t understand stuff like that. But it’s not cool to dog on him like that. It’s just not cool. So you need to stop or I’m going to tell [My Name] what’s going on.”

(Student #1’s little speech seemed to have done the trick and the rest of the period passed without any other incidents. After the bell rang, I hurried to catch up with Student #1 to thank him for what he had done and for standing up the way he did. What came next is what melted my heart.)

Me: “Thank you, [Student #1], for doing what you did and saying what you said. I really appreciate it and I know [Student #3] does too, even though he can’t really express it.”

Student #1: “You know, Miss [My Name]? [Student #2] just doesn’t get it. So we need to help him to understand. [Student #3], well … it can’t be easy being like that. Not understanding when people are joking or not. Or getting hurt feelings over things most kids our age don’t worry about anymore. It’s not his fault; he is who he was made to be. And you need to stick up for kids like that. Especially when you know people will listen to you. It’s the right thing to do and you should always do the right thing for your classmates.”

(I might have needed a moment in the bathroom to shed a few tears. It is so bittersweet when moments like these happen and they’re so few and far between that it makes these ones all the better.)

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