Saturday, September 22, 2007

Start with the Children

I was substitute teaching last week in an Elementary School. I only had three classes of students from Kindergarten to Second Grade. Children are brave. They see something they don't understand and they ask a question. They have this gift to question until they are socialized whether by parents or teachers alike. The elders then decide for the children via their own views what is polite to ask what isn't. However if a small child sees someone in a wheelchair, asks a question, and their parent tell them they were rude they will never ask again. Today while subbing these young students all raised their hands and asked why I was in a wheelchair, could I drive, how I got dressed, could I walk. Then they started commenting on how they were injured at one point or their grandmother was hurt and now uses a wheelchair or a walker. I enjoyed answering their questions and I asked them to spread all the information they learned today to their friends. I also asked them to always be brave and ask questions. When outside in the hallway waiting for my last class this spunky librarian from across the hall walked over to me while classes were changing and she started saying to me how cute it was the kids asked so many questions. I wasn't sure how she knew, but I agreed and said it was very important for them to get all the correct information they could so they wouldn't make assumptions. She then said while laughing-"you should just tell them you have no legs!" She said this while the last class was walking into the classroom. All I thought of at first was twenty children crying while I told then I had no legs and them thinking my legs were ripped off by a monster. I said to the librarian, "would that comment be made as a joke or for real?" She said it would be funny as a joke. Then she walked into the library after her class. I then wondered if any Iraqi Vets, specifically amputees would suggest I break the ice at my next substitute teaching job with that "joke".


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