6th Grade Here I Come!
When I was in 6th grade, I was in a classroom set-up called “tree”. The concept of “tree” was to have more interaction with different kinds of students. I was not worried about stereotypes. The vast majority of the students were able-bodied, a few were students with disabilities. The curriculum was centered on the idea of quarterly projects. Our daily workload was varied, unlike a regular classroom. The one thing that was always constant, was tests/quizzes. Do to my physical limitations, I am unable to write. In order for me to take a test and not disrupt the rest of the class, I would go out into the hallway and dictate my answers to my aide. One day, we had a vocabulary quiz and I studied just as I always did. When I got the test back, I was pulled out of class by the special education teacher and into her office. (This special education teacher was a liaison to facilitate issues between able-bodied students, non-able-bodied students, and the rest of the teachers.)
Accusation. Confusion. Stereotypes?
While in her office, she told me that I received the highest score in the class and that it was significantly higher than the rest of the classroom. Then she laid the proverbial bombshell. She accused, in no uncertain terms, that I must have cheated on the test (more specifically that my aide had supplied me with the answers). She came to this conclusion on her own. I was shocked that the special education teacher came to this outlandish allegation without evidence. I presumed she had been around me long enough to be aware of my level of intelligence. But, obviously I was wrong. I realized that all she saw was the chair and my disability and that the only way she could imagine someone in my circumstance to score such a high score was by cheating. I was confused at the predicament I was in. The very person who was supposed to be on my side and look out for me was accusing me of something I didn’t do.
The Moral of the Story
The story that I am writing about is not to place blame on this individual but to bring awareness to stereotypes that exist even in places that you don’t think they would. It still amazes me to this day, that something like this occurred. People need to look at those who might look different from themselves and not make overall judgments. We are more alike than we are different. It is my personal belief that if you assess those with a disability on an individual level and not global level, you would understand this.
Want more?? Check this blog post “How to Communicate with Your Special Education Department”
Rollin’ to a town near you!
P.S. Want to learn more about how Mike and Tim can share their story with YOUR group? Let’s Talk!