So it happened again last week… I discovered a “kite”, battered and muddy, too wet and torn to take off in the ever-persistent wind. But something about the way the “kite” fluttered in the breeze gave me hope that there was still flight left in its form.
Perhaps a bit too poetic for a monthly newsletter, but it’s a story that needs sharing. I have shared with you that I am an instructor of adult students. One of the groups of students that I am privileged to work with are students that come to our local community college to earn their GED (high school diploma). I have also shared that a perplexing number of them are gifted students that could not make it in the traditional school setting. Last week a similar story unfolded, only this time it was a “special education” student (from a small, mid-western community) that had gone unidentified as a twice-exceptional student. He shared his story of all the years in a special education classroom after “the test” he took in second grade. All the years of failing because he did not do his homework. All the years of ridicule for his overly creative and dreamy ideas. All the years of hurt and disappointment that he couldn’t make it in the system in which he was placed. But he came with the hope of working hard enough to earn his high school diploma so that he could become “gainfully employed instead of living off of the county.”
After the initial intake conversation, I assessed his competencies in the core curricular areas. He warned me that he would not do well on an “adult test” as he was a “special education student”. Conversely, he had only two questions incorrect on the entire battery of tests. He was surprised and pleased with the assessment results and said that he had never been given a full-length test to know his actual ability. Moreover, based on his assessments, we decided to bold on ahead and try a practice GED Math test just to give him a feel for what would be expected. He scored the highest score on the Math test that I have seen with any student. As a matter of fact, he scored well above the “honors” baseline and he hadn’t had any math instruction in over 10 years. This week he is beginning the GED tests and hopes to have them completed within two weeks. He realizes that a label defined his ability and that he has potential well beyond what he imagined. He has hopes of going to college and getting a degree, something that his inner “special education child” only had dreams of. This week a “kite” took flight!
Why the “kite” analogy? Because it is March! And because there is wonder in “kites”! They come in all colors, shapes and sizes (all socio-economic backgrounds, creeds, lands, abilities and disabilities-2e) and yet behold, with a proper tail and wind they fly. It’s March! And as Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins gleefully sang:
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!
Please see Cathi McCutchan’s 2e Resource List in this newsletter and on the WATG website for more information on twice-exceptional students.