The Moment Lynne Knew

Lynne taught special education students in public elementary school. She had two aides to help her with 5 – 10 students. The children assigned to her had not responded to instruction in traditional classrooms as a result of medical and emotional diagnoses, such as autism, anger management, physical impairments and emotional disturbances. She developed an individual educational program for each student and measured their performance. The students require continuous class management to keep them occupied and minimize disruptive behaviors.
Her last day in class I helped a boy read several pages. After 15 minutes an aide excused him by saying he did very well. He quickly leaped up on the windowsill. It was his longest reading. The visit was a whiff of Lynne’s whirlwind of common disruptions: talking, persistently out of the seat, defiance, ignoring instructions, aggression. All the while teachers are alert to silent withdrawal such as shyness, rocking, staring, hand flapping.
Each day started with Lynne’s blackboard schedule that gave structure to comfort teachers and students. One morning, probably in 2016, she could no longer deny something was wrong with her mind. She picked up the chalk to write down the date. She could not do it. The chalk in her fingers was suspended in mid-air in front of teachers and students. She knew the date, but she could not tell her fingers what numbers to write.
She covered up that day, and kept covering it up, because she believed she could handle it. She had to.

One thought on “The Moment Lynne Knew

  1. Maki Ichikawa April 30, 2020 / 5:49 am

    I worked with Lynn when she first took this job. I was an instructional coach spending at least couple of times a week in her classroom (I used to similar class so I knew the challenges she would face). She was kind, loving and passionate to serve this group of children. I remember seeing her eating roasted almonds while we talked. Sometimes she told me about her children and family but often she was just focusing what she can do to better serve her students. I was reassigned to another job so I moved on before she left the job. I heard that she wasn’t doing so well but had no idea challenges that she was facing. I coached many educators over the rears and meeting her was very special. I can’t imagine how she and her family think or feel each and every day (the emotions that the current situation brings). I pray that the same compassion and love that she shared with her students will return to her.

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