She came over to Mac’s desk. She had just finished showing the teacher her new glasses which, she proudly explained, ‘she bought with her birthday money’.
She was ready to start free activities like the rest of the class.
“Can he talk?” she asked me. “No, not really” I replied. “He has some sounds that mean things, you will soon learn how to understand him”.
“Why can’t he talk? she asked
I explained about Mac getting sick as a baby and his brain getting hurt. I explained how his damaged brain has caused all all his muscles to stop working properly. How his sitting muscles, standing muscles, eating muscles, walking muscles, talking muscles and seeing muscles no longer work properly.
She had been watching me put foam blocks into Mac’s hand and telling him about the shape and the colour. She went and got her own block. She gently picked up Mac’s hand and slowly turned the shape around under his hand. She counted out the sides to him as she went. “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 Mac, do you know what has seven sides?” she asked.
Hmmm, even I wasn’t sure on that one…
It turned out it was a 3D foam block. A cube with a hole in the middle and, she’s right, it does have seven edges or planes.
As she continued showing him most of the shapes in the box of blocks, with a delicate swish of her wrist as she ran each ‘plane’ along his palm, we talked about how much Mac liked noises. She went away only to reappear with two plastic blocks to tap together to make a noise Mac would like.
Mac’s face was one of sheer heaven – it’s not something I yearn for, but for Mac it was “ahhhhh, the serenity of noise”…
Good teachers come in many guises – some in the form of five year olds.
I wonder whether pedagogy is innate or learned?