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Monday, October 17, 2011

You can be Pitiful or Powerful, but NOT Both

I have the students who take on everything I have to teach them and rise to the top of their class, eventually with no accommodations at all. Completely supported by parents who fight for this independence also and let their child know they can reach this goal. The children have learned how to read their Braille work, so their fingers fly across the page, then they quickly turn to the computer and output the answer. When the teacher says it is time to hand in the work, they open their email, attach the lesson and send it off before all the other work is collected in the class from the sighted students. The teacher grades the work, using TRACK CHANGES to mark the paper. The teacher emails the lesson back with grade and remarks and the student can easily read it with her JAWS commands. , all independently. All these children, are powerful and everyone looks up to them. One particular child even scores the highest on state tests in the spring time and she is only in the 6th grade. Greater things follow and people seek her out to be her friend and she becomes middle school president of the ASB and later successfully enters the college of her choice.

I also have other students, who are backed or rather fronted by parents who seek unlimited time for their child to finish work and they do poorly in class because their lessons have been cut in half or less, so they are not learning the same amount of content as their peers. This child has the same abilities as the fore mentioned child but because of the limited work and due to an unlimited amount of accommodations insisted by parents, they child cannot rise to their potential. Children like this are frustrated by their poor grades and it hurts their self esteem and they either act out or go into depression or just mediocre silence and apathy. They feel sorry for themselves and believe the school needs to do more for them. The parents believe this also. The more the school does, the less the child does and the less they learn other than they have become pitied and pitiful. They do not have friends. They stay home every weekend and do not even have the skills to go to camps in the summer. They graduate school and cannot get into college or find a college to finally go to after many rejections. They go and within the first month cannot do school and drop out. Some call later to ask what to do, others stay with their parents. Some insist that their rehab counselor find them a job and the pity from others and themselves grow.

This is not a blind thing or a sighted thing, this is a human thing. I have seen it in every age, ability, creed and color. You have the people who believe the world owes them something and you have the people who actively put out the energy to make the world a better place. I go back to what Kennedy said decades ago "Ask not what your country can do for you--- ask what can you do for your country." So what are you doing? Are you taking or are you adding?

You can be pitiful or powerful, but you cannot be both. Life is choices. What choice will you make?

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