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Mega phone…

December 20, 2009

Do you ever feel the sadness of a place???

Last September I spent some time on Saltspring Island…

The weather was warm,

the scenery was spectacular,

and I was on my way to spend a day with horses…

I should have felt on top of the world,

and for many moments I did,

but in-between those moments,

I cried from my guts…

Squeezing out grief I didn’t recognize,

from my own experience,

of the here and now…

And I didn’t know how,

to make sense,

of it all…

She rules her life like a fine skylark...

When I talk about those things the odd person asks me,

Aren’t you over-emotional???

I ask back,

What does that mean???

and wonder to myself,

what would a reasonable level,

of emotionality be???

and who for that matter,

would we put in charge,

to decide on,

and measure,

the acceptable,

or reasonable,

amount of feeling???

Would it be you,

or me,

or some outside expert???

I worked with a student,

when she was in Kindergarten,

and Grade One…

For about a month or so,

everyday,

at the beginning of Kindergarten,

her mom would bring her into the classroom crying…

Her mom didn’t know what to do,

and I didn’t really know either,

because although I’d seen things,

like separation anxiety,

many times before,

over the years,

but this felt different…

So I,

or the other teacher in the room,

held her,

until she stopped crying…

Sending her home,

until she was ready,

to be there,

wasn’t an option for me…

I knew that she needed to be here…

I didn’t problematize her behaviour…

I didn’t call a School Based Team meeting…

And I didn’t send in the clowns…

But I made sure that I whispered right into her ear,

It’s okay to be sensitive…

And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too much,

the world needs people just like you…

She smiled through her tears,

as she cried them,

and after some time she smiled through her day,

with her new found friends,

because this class was chock full,

of sensitive,

small people,

who get a full picture,

whether they like it,

or not…

At our first Three-way conference,

where student,

and parents,

and teacher meet,

to discuss strengths,

areas for development,

and an articulated commitment,

from each party,

to support the student selected,

learning goal,

this girl’s parents told me,

in their English as a Second Language,

Our daughter knows what we need before we know…

She gets things ready for us when we don’t even know what we’re going to do yet…

She feels our feelings and it seems like she reads our thoughts…

And we don’t know how we can help her…

Can you tell us what to do???

I didn’t have any answers for them,

because I didn’t know what to do either,

this was beyond my scope of experience,

as a teacher,

as far as I’d been aware…

All I knew,

in that moment,

is that she needed to know,

that she is perfectly okay,

and that she has a gift,

to be treasured…

The year she turned six,

in Grade One,

the Resource Teacher tested her for reasoning ability,

and she scored at fifteen years of age…

There aren’t tests for the other things that she knows,

or feels…

I had a dream last week that my parents were in my bed…

Their heads sticking out from under the covers,

looking sheepish…

I firmly told them to get out of my room…

I said,

This is over now…

I’m not going to carry your stuff anymore…

And I woke up feeling so much lighter,

and clearer…

After that day with horses I opened up a book I had bought the day before,

at one of the island’s bookstores,

and I read something about the history,

of the place…

A dark history,

searching for recognition,

and freedom…

You've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real... (photo: Starshine)

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