Saturday, August 2, 2008
"you have 10 minutes to write about a time when you overcame a significant obstacle," the instructor says.
"what do you want to write about?" i whisper into his ear.
the answer seems obvious to me . . .
"i don't know," the student replies. his voice carries loudly across the quiet room; he has a tough time modulating.
from his motorized wheelchair, his body spasms and contorts of its own accord, hands flailing, feet twitching, as he stares out of the window.
i give him a few more seconds. "think of anything yet?" i ask.
"no, i can't think of anything," he says.
. . .
the following day we go back to class.
"today, i want you to take the first 10 minutes of class and tell me about the kind of super hero you would be. if you could change anything about yourself, be anything, do anything . . . fly, have superhuman strength, anything . . . what would it be? tell me. write it down."
i turn to my student. his eyes are wide and bright as the sun.
"what do you think?" i say.
he laughs and smiles and says, "i'd have a wheelchair with rocket boosters!"
"that's freaking awesome!" i enthuse . . .
HE'S freaking awesome.
. . .
my student has cerebral palsy.
. . .
this is my life. i am a teacher. but . . . it's my students who teach ME how to live.