Ever since I was “Diagnosed” with ADD, I have been mocked, put down, and treated differently. Not by students, oh no, they’re fine. But by teachers. Halfway through 7th grade I was told I couldn’t be in the “Normal” class anymore, but was forced to join Miss S’s Class. At the time they assumed I had no idea and told me “It would probably work out more, since its closer to Mr. F’s room.” This was the class I attended just before my former team-time. After that day I began to notice really obvious changes in the teachers I had once assumed to be my friends.
They began asking me if I needed help or if I’m done with the test or if I need to go with a group of students for it. This, by the way, is a great thing for people who need it. But for people like me, who were raised in an environment where you fend for yourself, see it as a head-on challenge. As the year progressed I began to notice what was going on, they thought I was stupid. It was as blatant as the sign in front of the school that says “Edison Middle School”. Without them knowing I secretly tried to get back at them by purposely letting my “grades” slip. My plan worked perfectly. As I was accepted more and more by the teachers as that “One kid who never does anything” I silently thought to myself how great it was that my opinion could be spoken without actually saying anything. Over the course of that year, my life was horrible. Called in every 5 minutes to the social worker to see if I was “ok” With the whole IEP Situation. Of course I lied. But they didn’t honestly care, because if they did, they would have noticed the look of despair in my eyes.
The year after that was exponentially more horrible than any year I’ve ever attended. As of writing I’m not even done with the year and it’s horrible. The reason is because of one teacher, I’m not naming any names, but that teacher has taken the idea and contorted it until he/she thinks the student with the IEP is a hopeless idiot who needs help at every turn. When I turn in my homework he/she not only looks over every question, but assumes I need help on the ones I get wrong. Which by the way, I’m a perfectly competent student who deserves better treatment than that. I believe that equal treatment goes both ways. Whether you are being segregated against because of your culture race or outward appearance, Or if you’re getting extra help from people who forced you to take it. I can name two or three instances where I have been told I NEED to leave the room to go over a test. People ask questions, it isn’t subtle. Or even when I forget my book, I am told I need to go get it but when another “Normal” student forgets it he/she is told “No, you are not allowed to get your book.” This has been happening way before 8th grade in fact, the first time it ever happened was in elementary school. Everyone was minding their own business doing math homework or something. When I was told I needed to go in the hallway. As a 3rd grader I was pretty obedient, so I went. And what do you know? I was told my teacher noticed I was “struggling” when I was really just doodling because honestly, what 3rd grader cares about math? Across the years I didn’t pick up on it until I realized the “smart” kids were getting to leave class early to go to TAG (Talented and Gifted). They never told us what TAG meant but when I personally asked my teacher I said “What does TAG mean?” Talented and Gifted “Why aren’t I in it?” Because you aren’t good enough. A phrase comes to mind which will put this all into perspective “Separate but equal”. Yeah okay, how about “Equal but separate”? Over the Constitution unit I was given a packet which made it easier to fill out answers. When my good friend Kyle asked why mine was thicker the teacher thought for a minute and responded “Because I made some of them different. It’s all the same stuff.” Lying. She has to lie to cover up that I’m not normal? Its okay that people know I have a disability, In fact, I want to yell as I’m writing this “I have a hard time paying attention. It’s a gift, not a disorder!” You shouldn’t hide that you have a disability. It’s what makes this world so beautiful. If everyone thought exactly the same, what would we be without? I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say, being different isn’t supposed to make you ashamed, it’s supposed to make you feel stronger! In the Declaration of Independence it states somewhere that everyone has the right to pursue happiness. What is happiness to me isn’t happiness to everyone else. I’m not trying to get rid of the IEP; it’s a great system, like Communism. It works excellently on paper, but when it is brought into action one person always messes it up. In conclusion, Let children be their own lights. Don’t guide them. The world is soon going to be ours. With war, global warming, poverty, and disasters, don’t we need a new outlook on life? We should be given another chance. Not a chance to fail.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.