Time Capsule, October 2010
Earlier this week I subbed for a self-contained, middle-level special education resource room. I chose that setting over a regular full day of high school science reasoning that I needed as much exposure to different classroom settings and disciplines to round out my teaching experience. It was a quiet and relatively easy day–there were two young students, two aides, and myself.
Towards the last period, I found myself working with one of the students on an assigned worksheet. He was a polite and friendly child. At one point he paused at his writing, looked at me curiously, and asked, “Is one of your eyes higher than the other?” I was quite amused, considering it has been several years since someone has asked anything pertaining my physical disabilities. Most adults are either too thoughtful or too distracted with other things to bring it up in conversation. It is almost always a young child who asks.
With a smile, I patiently explained that I had been born with multiple congenital abnormalities,with the most visible including asymmetric facial features and the remnants of a cleft palate. The young student nodded slowly, in deep thought. His next remark caught me by surprise: “I’m glad I was born perfect.”
It was an honest comment, and I cut off a laugh that threatened to bubble out of my mouth. I didn’t want him to take it the wrong way, but it was quite unexpected, considering our settings. I loved that child at that moment, most especially because he saw nothing wrong with himself, even though there was a red folder two feet away that listed a whole bunch of somethings that insisted he was not.
I hope that he continues to see himself as whole and perfect for the rest of his life; that he continues to have this self-confidence as he transitions from boy to young man; and that when someone else says otherwise, he will always know he is more than just what the red folder says he is.