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On the Backs of Educators

I know I’ve written about our public educators at our little neighborhood school. Particularly about how I felt on the day of his 6th grade graduation. I wrote about how Gage’s educational team surrounded him in so many ways so he could be successful.

They served the whole child.

Since he’s started 6th grade I’ve been amazed at how he’s settled into his routine and how happy and content he is and how he’s embraced wanting to do well.

He has the desire to do well.

There were several years where he did well, but mostly just tolerated having to go to school and his (deep and wide) team kept him on track.

I know it’s early in the year at his school.


But we’ve seen him embrace concepts he didn’t last year. We’ve seen him show a desire to do well, which honestly is about half of Gage’s problem. If he can get past confidence issues, he can realize his potential. He’s doing that at his new school.

Our elementary school gave Gage an incredible foundation, even when they and we thought he wasn’t listening and absorbing.

Those hours they spent doing homework at the end of the day because he could not cope with one extra thing to do outside of school. This was due to physically feeling bad while in kidney failure and while on dialysis. It was also due to severe, debilitating depression. It was all he could do to hold on during the day at school. He completely fell apart at home. It was his safe place to land, where he knew he could.

They spent countless hours brainstorming about ways to engage him, help him learn, help him cope and how to set up a schedule for him that worked with where he was at during a particular phase.

You know some of the creative things they did for short or long periods of time?

– Let him drop out of music

– His special ed teacher let him eat lunch in her room on her break so he didn’t have to sit in the too loud cafeteria.

– Let him be “special helper” in several classes to engage him and help build his confidence.

– Modified work so that sometimes he didn’t have to write anything, but he was still learning.

– Let him learn at his own pace (multiplication not learned totally until 5th grade and still a little shaky.)

– Encouraged his imagination by letting him tell them stories, even if they typed or wrote for him.

– Changed their teaching styles to best fit him at any given time (sometimes weekly).

– Played up his strengths to him, to us.

Their work worked. He’s whole. He’s gaining confidence in himself because he had enough skills to get him where he is, even though he had unbelievable odds against him from every direction.

He is at a place where I think he believes what we’ve all been telling him for years.

He is capable of doing great things.

He is smart, sweet, and unique.

We’ve all been telling him for years that he is enough.

I think he might actually believe it.


Originally published 9/2011 on Kidneys and

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