Thursday, May 23, 2013

Highs & Lows

Oh goodness I'm lovin this coastal weather, are we in the central valley.. seriously? Fantastic is an understatement.

These past two weeks the schools have been underway with state testing. When I was young it was my favorite time of the year. An excuse to chew gum and eat unlimited snacks. Heck yes.

The amount of students I see during this time of year slows down due to testing. However; my older group of students make time to stop by and poke their heads in hoping therapy will take place. Today it did.

I see a group of three students who are all in 6th grade. They come in once a week for 30 minutes of speech and language therapy. At the beginning of the year they were quiet, and I pushed hard to get a word out of them. Homies musta been scared of their 5 foot 123lb blondie speech teacher.

It didn't take long for me to see the hearts in these kids. Genuine and loving, looking for time from someone who would listen and pay attention to them. I started allocating the last 15 minutes of speech to reflect on the good and not so good times in our lives. Which we later called Highs and Lows. You better believe I participate too.

Little did I know how much of an impact this was making. Word quickly got around to the school about our High/Low time and kids were stopping me in the hallways.. "Teacher Natalie, can I come to speech with ______".

Working in an area that has high poverty and hearing deep deep stories from the kids, makes my stomach turn. I take it in and remind myself to exhale. It's not easy and I'm not even living it. I'll be honest, I'm having trouble with the "ins" and "outs". I need more guarantees for these kids to know, actually know, that something greater than their lousy deadbeat parents is out there.

I've never known the struggle of not wanting to go home because of parents fighting, drugs, drama, abuse, going without electricity and water. How can you concentrate in school with all those situations and I'll never know why these young innocent kids were handed a brutal life. Because of that I use speech as a tool to teach life skills. For these kids and myself our High/Low time is beneficial and reminds us of the little things in life to be happy for.

The future for them might seem uncertain and blurry, but in the precious 30 minutes we take once a week, everything that almost existed snaps into focus for a moment. They feel hope peak in with a frown that turns into a smile. If anything... Thats what counts.

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