Friday, October 2, 2015

High Expectations

Tonight we met an old friend of Heidi's for a celebration dinner. Just a few years older than I am, Trudi retired as of yesterday. After 30 years of teaching, at 55 she's moving back to upstate New York to be close to her family and care for her 85-year-old mom. It was a nice meal, and full of laughter as Heidi and Trudi recounted their many antics working together for 25 years as special education teachers and swimming instructors.

Their approach to the many exceptional kids they have taught over the years may be considered a bit old school these days. Rather than coddle recalcitrant kids, these two are always very direct and firm about their expectations. They believe that everyone can follow rules.

As an example, Trudi told us about a kindergarten student who tore a piece from the bulletin board every time he came into the gym. His teachers scolded him, but shrugged apologetically. Clearly he was unable to understand how inappropriate his action were.

After a few weeks, Trudi grabbed a stapler and took the little boy by the hand. Together they repaired the bulletin board, hand over hand, piece by piece, and when they were done?

He didn't tear it down again. 

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