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Sliding Down. It's the Little Things

Teachers make a difference in the lives of the students they teach. Coincidentally, those students also make a difference in the lives of the teachers they love. The following story was submitted by a Maricopa teacher about a student connection and and how it changed the lives of those involved.

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Sliding Down. It’s the Little Things.

I taught special education preschool in Texas back in 1996. One day I noticed one of my 5 year old students, Joseph, would not go on the slide like the other kids on the playground. I asked him why and he said he was afraid. I asked Joseph if he wanted me to teach him how to go down the slide. He eagerly shook his head yes and so in my dress and heels, I climbed that slide and sat Joseph on my lap.

Down we went. He was so thrilled, he asked if we could do it again. So once again, we climbed the slide and together we went down. We did this about three times and I asked Joseph if he wanted to try it by himself. He said yes and asked me to stand at the end of the slide to catch him and make sure he would be ok.

I stood at the end of the slide while Joseph came down that slide by himself! We did that a few times and then Joseph said to me, "Pony, move over there," and indicated he wanted me to move over just a little away from the slide. So, I moved over a little. Down he came!

Then he said to me, "Pony, move over a little more," and so I did. That day, Joseph began to climb those steps and slide down that slide. The next day on the playground, Joseph said to me, "Pony, watch!" He lined up, waited for his turn and proudly climbed those steps and went down the slide just like the other kids. From that day on, Joseph was not afraid to be just like the other kids and had many good days sliding down the playground slide.

Linda Poloni

*This is part of our Teacher Connection Series that was inspired by Weave: The Social Fabric Initiative. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/weave-the-social-fabric-initiative/