Pieces of the Child

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Chapter 2: The Challenge
(by NativeRose, added on 28 April 2004 06:24 PM)

Anela had eight students in her class, all with different abilities. The challenge would be figuring out how to teach her class but address each child's individual needs. The first student to arrive was a boy, about eight years old. His name was Scott, and he was in a wheelchair. He smiled brightly and waved, unaware that his teacher couldn't see him. Anela walked toward the sound of the wheels squeaking on the tile floor.
"Hi!" she said cheerfully.
"I'm Miss Peterson. What's your name?"
"Scott," he replied, in a shaky voice.
"I'm glad to have you in my class this year, Scott."
Next to arrive was a girl about six years of age, whose name was Jenna. She was completely blind. Her mother guided her into the classroom, straight for Anela.
"Hi. I'm Jenna. My mom says you're blind like me. Is that true? Wow! That would be neat, I mean, to have a teacher who is blind just like me. Neat! Hey, Scott!"
"I'm sure you've discovered rather quickly that she is not shy at all. She'll talk a mile a minute." Her mother laughed.
Third to arrive was a Native American girl named Rosalyn. She was about ten years old, and she had Down's Syndrome.
"Good morning!" Anela greeted her latest arrival.
"Hi! Who are you?"
"I'm your new teacher, Miss Peterson."
"Oh, okay." She went to a desk in the corner.
Fourth, a boy of about five shuffled into the room. His name was Shane. He had cerebral palsy and used a walker. He also had vision problems due to his CP.
"Hi, Shane!" Anela said as she guided him to his desk.
"Is this your first year of school?"
"Yes," Shane whispered.
"I can see that you're a little scared."
"Yeah," a tear rolled down his cheek.
"Well, we'll show you that school is a friendly place," she whispered, as she gave him a hug.
Next, a nine-year-old named Nequenta rolled in. Her mother pushed her toward Anela.
"Hi, I'm Rose Anderson, and this is Nequenta," she indicated the girl in the wheelchair.
"You've seen her medical information?"
"Yes Mrs. Anderson."
"She is completely nonverbal and paralyzed from the chest down due to meningitis when she was eighteen months old." She handed Anela a box of diapers and a communication book.
Sixth, a seven-year-old boy named Isaac ran into the room.
"Hi. Are you the new teacher? What are we going to learn in school today? Yay! Yay! Yay!" He jumped up and down.
"I see you have lots of energy," she said fondly, as she indicated a desk.
"Yeah. What's your name? You're the teacher, right?" he asked questions faster then she could think of answers. As he talked, he tapped a pencil on the desk. I'll have to ask if he takes any medication for his hyperactivity and attention deficit
disorder, she thought.
Seventh, a boy of five was led into the room. His mother spoke to the teacher.
"Hi, I'm Anne Nelson. This is my son Zack. He is severely autistic and is nonverbal."
"Yes, I saw his evaluations." His mother handed over a box of diapers and a communication book before she ran out the door.
"Late for work," she explained appologetically.
Last to arrive was Sierra. She was ten, and had a severe seizure disorder. She took several medications that made her very drowsy. Therefore, she was permitted to take naps throughout the day.

As Anela surveyed her class, she could see that this was going to be a challenge. She had students with so many different needs and abilities. How could she teach her class, yet attend to their individual needs? She knew this wouldn't be easy, but she would give it everything, simply because she loved her students as they were.

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