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Wednesday
Jan122011

October 29

If white men could make marks on paper and then make the marks “talk” back to him, why couldn’t the Indian do that?

Georgia, by Elmer D. Williams

 

Dear Dixie,

For some time I’ve noticed when you give them the rest of the class off, most of them sit on the floor here and there.  I think when the pressure’s off, they like the go somewhere below the teacher’s eye level.  That’s what I think.  Sometimes they don’t want to go outside and play.

I’m grading tests at my desk in the back and I’ve got some music going.  Just low enough to know there’s music playing somewhere.  Some others are working on their new study guides or reading a book.  A couple are finishing up essays ... due tomorrow. 

It’s cloudy and drizzly outside.  The moment has a nice feel but fifth period always does.  They’ve had a demanding week, I admit.  Covering one chapter in four days is a lot to ask.  I do it every other week.  And they’ve given a lot back.  So they get to sit on the floor.  That's what they like to do sometimes.

But I heard a question.  A very personal question.  It stopped me.  I looked over at a twosome in the back , Herman and Albert.  It was a question I had never heard a kid ask another kid: Herman asked Albert what was it like to have dyslexia.

I turned the music all the way down and sort of hid behind my computer screen.  They didn’t know I was listening and watching.

Albert said reading is almost impossible.

Herman asked him what he meant.

Then Albert shimmied over a little bit and pointed at a world map on the wall near them.  He said do you see the word Russia here?

Yes.

Well, to me the A is way over here and the R is way over there and it’s a big jumble.  That’s what it’s like.  That word does not look like Russia to me.

Reverently, respectfully, Herman said ... Wow.

Albert asked Herman, What do you have?

Herman said all he is … is nervous all the time.

 

 

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