A story of fighting fear and finding humanity along the way

Teaching from the heart. For the heart.

Practicing Presence

Paper-clipped piles of papers sit to the left of me reminding me that grades are due soon. As we near the end of the semester, however, these are not at the forefront of my mind. Today something pretty incredible happened in my room, E121. And this isn’t a story about grades. It’s about a mute student in a speech class and 23 of his peers.

Meet Nate*. Nate does not speak in school. He is selectively mute. At home, he talks so much, his cousin calls him annoying. The first day of speech class this year, I asked the students to all participate in sharing something out. We got to Nate and it was silent. I waited allowing the awkward silence to ensue. Finally, a student piped up, “Ms. Peterson, he doesn’t talk.” I was confused, didn’t believe her at first. Nate nodded, and I finally understood. We moved on.

A mute student…

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