those cute kiddos at nautilus teachings

4 weeks
three schools per day
palm bay
up to titusville
is where i am traveling.
i get to teach
children with special needs
but more important
is what they teach me.
after getting checked in
at the front office i either am escorted back
to their room or am given a map and get lost
while going back, and i mean
WAAAAYYYYY back
to their classrooms.
so far,
each school places
these beautiful souls
on their own side
in their own trailers
even in their own building…
(quote from teacher)

“It’s ridiculous ! I’ve actually taught in a room that was once a janitors closet in Palm Bch County ! It’s a lot btr now but still long way to go …”

i am guessing
this is mandated
by some rules
and regulations,
however;
this saddens me.

i believe the rest of the school children
should have contact with them
to learn compassion and empathy
why can’t they partner up with
them and be a reading buddy?
it will not harm them to
see reality:
some people live with challenges.
just like we have different colors
of skin
race
religion
likes
and
dislikes.


the children i have worked with
are absolutely happy
kind
loving
communicative
engaging
responsive
and growing…
some have
one on one aids
but for the most part
the classrooms have
one teacher
and one or two helpers.
these kids
walk in lines quietly
follow directions
listen
learn
use the restroom,
they just make me smile.
outside of the
small physical differences
if you put them on the same
playground as the rest
and muted the sound
they may be slower, but
you would never know
they have been labeled
and placed in the back
or out of sight…
sure
there are a few
who are more severely
disabled
but
they do not smile less
in fact they seem
to smile more
shine brighter
try harder
reach out to me
with their hand…
i have fallen
in love
with them
they have stolen
my heart.


over the next few week
i am going to begin
getting answers to my questions
i am curious if the
children with special needs
get to interact
with the rest of the school,
and if not,
then why not?
if so,
then how?
i am there such a short time
in each school
that i only see a small part
of their world…
but it still bugs me
that they seem to be
ousted
almost hidden,
which begs the question
where do they get dropped off?
do they have a separate driveway?
“It varies based on many things…some students are fully included in general education classes and receive what they need there, some are “pulled out” from their gen ed class to work with spec ed tchr in a Resource Class and some are special class all day. it’s costly to do it the right way.”
tuesday,
i will get in my car
start my second week
and savor every moment
i get to spend with these
children
their teachers
parents
and helpers…
one thing i know for sure?
these kids are loved
and this old
artsy fartsy chick
is filled with gratitude
for having this amazing opportunity
to bring a little more color
into their lives.
when it’s all over
and i go back to my life
their fingerprints,
giggles,
and smiles
will be embedded upon
my soul
forever…