Monday, December 29, 2008

Whatever It Takes

Years ago at a workshop an educational speaker said to the group, "Parents are sending you the best kids they have. They aren't keeping the good ones at home and holding back on you. These are the best kids they have."

I have repeated this statement, in one form or another, countless times over the years in workshops I have taught or when mentoring new teachers, but there is something more to that statement for me than the obvious. That statement is not only a reminder to let parents off the hook a little bit and remember you are in the same boat, but also a reminder that to truly change the life of a child you sometimes need to commit to helping to change the life of a family.

Heavens knows that is NOT our job as teachers (or OT/PT/Speech therapists or school nurses or whatever); we are not social workers, case managers or family counselors - but sometimes we are all that families of students with significant disabilities have. We are it. The only other person who may care about their child. The only other person who knows that child in good times and bad. The only other person who cares for and respects that child as more than a diagnosis. The only other person who looks at the child and sees strength and possibility.

When that happens I feel a human responsibility to reach out to that family however I can. I, as a human being, have to try to be the change I wish to see in the world* and go that extra mile. I have to do whatever it takes to make a difference to that child and that family.

P.S. Obviously there is a story behind this story, a story about a child and a family. I promise you it is a story that, for one child and one family, is starting to have a happy ending.

*"Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

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  1. This rings so true for me... I believe I am someone who knows my parent's child. I am committed beyond my responsibilities as a teacher, to offer both to my student and their parents all I have from education and life experience to lessen their loads and make their path through life an easier one.

  2. Thank you for this thought ... parents are sending their best children to school ... they are not holding the bad ones back.

    This made me think ... the education departments (around the world, I think) are putting their best teachers out in the schools ... they are not holding the bad ones back.

    But in spite of this, we see that the quality of teaching is often below the expected standard. This makes one think ... what could be done to beef up the quality of our teachers?

    Could technology play a bigger role?

  3. Thank you for this special reminder Kate. You inspire me to be the change I want to see in the world. I will try my best.


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