Go beyond yourself

Kim Wathen, M.S.
Physical Fitness & Wellness Faculty

“Sandra”, an older student, sat in the back corner of my classroom with her laptop open and rarely spoke during class.  She was present for all class periods and always seemed attentive.  I was surprised that her quiz scores were low and shocked when she disrupted class.

After speaking with “Sandra” about her quiz scores, I made accommodations for her to take her quizzes in a separate room so that distractions would be minimized for her.  She told me that any discussion before the test caused her to “lose everything from her head”.

The disruption was caused when “Sandra” insisted that a fellow student had a contagious health condition and should leave the class.  Although the fellow student left the class in tears, “Sandra” left as well.  When I returned to my classroom after walking the upset student to the office, I learned that “Sandra” had argued with several classmates while I was out.  Speaking with administrators, I learned that she was known for causing issues in several classes.

After the next class period, I learned that she was very stressed over another class which required a lot of writing.  Due to a learning disability, she was forced to first write, then type her work.  I spent 90 minutes researching online and then teaching her how to use voice to text on her laptop so that she no longer had to write before typing.  She cried when we figured this out and thanked me many times.  At that point, my heart softened toward her and I felt much compassion for her.

Helping this student research and learn to utilize voice to text was a growing experience for me as well because I was able to overlook the problems she had caused and give her a tool that would empower her and change her world.  I was thankful and blessed that I had taken time that no one else had.