Thursday, November 7, 2013

No Desk for Joshua-4th grade

Another post on Joshua's educational experiences. :)

We had a good 3rd grade year and a sweet teacher, Mrs. Webb. We went to church with Mrs. Webb and her family. She loved Joshua and he loved her. I don't really remember much about that year...probably at because I was knee-deep in 4 kids at the time! I do remember that Mrs. Webb's husband was a coach at the Jr High. Joshua had PE in the 7th grade, and Coach Webb was in the gym talking to one of the other coaches.

Back story: Coach Webb was a good man, but Joshua gave him fits...because, like most coaches, he liked order and rule and kids following directions.

And then there was Joshua. :)

Joshua tells the story of how, after PE one day...everyone was filing out the door, and heading back to their classes. You just never know what goes through Joshua's mind...Jim's favorite phrase when the kids were little was, "what POSSESSED you to do that?" Joshua would just look at him. I mean, seriously? What answer was he expecting?

Anyway, all the kids are walking out from PE and Joshua spies the light-switch on the wall. I don't know if he had seen it before, or if he thought about it longer than 1 second before he did it...but he flipped off ALL the lights on the way out, and then took off running, laughing all the way. I don' know if you've ever been in an old gym with the lights off. PITCH BLACK. And Coach Webb was in the gym IN THE DARK and he was MAD...fumbling to the door and determined to get to Joshua. Joshua later said, "but he couldn't catch ME!"

Oh, he was finally caught and he was in big school and at home.

But just so you know that the offense was not quickly forgotten by the perpetrator, the other day, we were looking thru one of Joshua's old yearbooks. On the "faculty" page, there was a picture of Coach Webb...and Joshua had written beside it in red pen, "I do not like you Coach Tom Webb."


But 4th grade. Ugh. Not a great year. The school typically had an open house before school started. You got to meet the teacher, see your classroom...and meet some of the kids in the class. There's usually a Mom who designates herself as the Home Room Mom, or someone asks her to do it...and we all sign up to help for different parties and field-trips, etc.  So, we got the invitation...we found out the name of the teacher...and we went, Jim, Joshua and I. When we got in there, the room was full of parents and kids. The teacher was greeting each family as they came in the door, while the kids spent time finding their desks and seeing their friends.

After introducing Joshua to his teacher, he took off to explore the room. He came up to me and said, "where's my desk, Mom...where's my desk?" I figured he just wasn't looking closely enough, so I told him to keep on looking. Again, he came up to me and touched my hand, "where's my desk, Mom?" Over and over and over. I stopped what I was doing and began to scan the room. The desks were all arranged neatly...each desk had a large piece of paper with that child's name printed on it. But there was no desk for Joshua.


I felt tears well up in my eyes. I could feel my face getting really red. Where could I go?


But I'm a Mom. I can't just run out and leave because something isn't going my way, but I also did not want to make a scene. I asked Jim to take Joshua out to the playground. I stayed in the class with the other parents and listened to the teacher talk about her plans for the year. While the other parents sat at their child's desk, I sat in a chair in the back of the room.

I never addressed the desk issue with this teacher. I mean, I was just so hurt...I couldn't. I did talk to Mrs. Thomas about it. She was as appalled as I was, but it was done and there was no making it right. You know, the very least anyone can do is to value the life of a child. ANY child. Having a desk for Joshua in this class room would've made him feel like a part of the class and would have required very little effort. It would have given him a sense of confidence in starting out the year, and would've gone a long way in helping the other kids in the class accept him as one of their own. In the end, she did fix a little place for the time Joshua was in the class...altho he was not in there one second longer than was indicated on his IEP. It was a hard year.

This story has stayed with me all of these years. It's the one story that people who have heard me speak about it...always request that I tell it again. It always brings the emotion of that day right back to the front of my mind, because there are places of my heart that are still tender from this memory.

Although I did not harbor ill will toward this teacher...I requested her for Holly the next year and it was fine...I will never be at peace with how anyone could be so insensitive to a child.

"...I have called you by your name; you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

(You can read about Joshua's earlier experiences at school
here, here, here and here)

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