The Things You Said

I always know I'm going to hear something unflattering about someone else when the following sequence of events takes place:

1) The person I'm talking to puts their hand across their mouth. They are about to say something that probably shouldn't be said. Subconsciously, they are trying to keep the words from being spoken.

2) The eyes dart back and forth. This is the scan to see if there's anyone around that probably shouldn't hear what's about to be said.

3) The person leans in to me, the eyes are open a bit wider than usual.

4) The voice lowers and the words , "Between you and me..." are said.

5) Insert pregnant pause. Breathe. Stop. Scan the room again. Then the sentence is completed and the speaker watches for the reaction of the listener.

I know this series of events so well since I''ve been the speaker sharing the

I've been the speaker several times. Probably thousands of times. Too many times to count. My gossipy tendencies are not the point here. (Although, perhaps they should be.) The interesting thing is that I've been the listener several times in the past few days during conversations with teachers. Usually, the teacher is talking about his or her students.

"Between you and me, I'm beginning to suspect that De'Andre is a total genius."

Or, how about, "Between you and me, I've really noticed that Ricardo should be in a gifted and talented program."

But, that's not what I hear.

I won't say I never hear those things being said, because sometimes I do. Sometimes.

Hearing: "De'Andre needs to be in special ed. He hasn't been diagnosed but everyone knows it."
I'm Thinking: What if Olinga turns out to have some special needs that I can't tell about right now? What if he's dyslexic or something? Will some teacher whisper confidentially about him someday? Do they already whisper about him?

Hearing: "Ricardo must have ADD. He hasn't been formally diagnosed but I can tell, you know."
Thinking: The CEO of Jet Blue has ADD. He talked about it on one of those Dateline NBC-type shows.

The thing is, all this could just be a frustrated teacher. So often, I sense that teachers have such weighty responsibilities but they don' t know how to reach children that are a bit different. It's the classic defense mechanism.

I have to believe that those teachers still care. They will still work hard for those students. They will still believe in those kids. Despite the things they've said. Right?


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