My students are handicapped, disabled, impaired… yeah, just pick an adjective.
They have impediments, be they mental or physical, which hinder them from progressing correspondingly with their peers – tasks and material which their unencumbered counterparts accomplish with only trifling efforts, present monumental (if not altogether insurmountable) difficulties to such “lesser” children. Verily, these children must always be left behind.
With this grim and mournful preamble understood, there is much more to this story…
For whatever their intellectual and/or physiological shortcomings might be, my students have daily left me awestruck at their habitual demonstrance of an all too uncommon grace towards each other.
Eagerly do the more able-bodied students volunteer to push the wheelchairs of those more constrained; in a like manner do those less troubled by mental and emotional disorders lend their abilities to their classmates aid. Bound to each other by their shared stigma in a form of socially polite exile.
I cannot say as much for their more “unblemished” peers…
When I have accompanied my students into their scheduled classes amongst the general population, I have been witness to a near-constant barrage of the absolute worse in-class behavior I have ever seen from children – both as a teacher and a student.
A generation of pre-jaded wiseacres, it seems that they all have a prefabricated media-drenched opinion of almost every other word that comes from the teacher`s lips.
Far too quick to savor shallow wit, I cannot help but wonder how much of their very lives they liken to a joke – for I can scarcely discern any seriousness within them.
My reason demands that I concede that surely there must be some exception (though I am yet to find it) but my initial impression is that the overwhelming majority are universally self-centered and flagrantly disrespectful of any/all authority – seemingly without fear of any consequence of even the most asinine of behaviors.
In a word, this public school has the appearance of an absurd reliquary for jesters… an incubator for narcissistic Pragmatism.
Who are the truly handicapped?