Over the last several weeks, there have been numerous stories in the news about teachers being verbally and/or physically abusive toward their students with special needs. As many of us have watched in absolute shock and horror over the cruel and careless actions of these teachers (who are obviously in the field for all of the wrong reasons), it is important for us to remember that there are a lot of wonderful, caring teachers out there, too; teachers who are in the field for all of the right reasons; teachers who truly care for the well-being of their students; teachers who truly want to make a difference in the lives of children. Unfortunately, these are the teachers you don't hear about. These are the teachers who don't make the news - but deserve to!
With that said, consider The Starfish Story; a compelling story adapted from the original version, The Star Thrower, written by Loren Eisley (1907-1977). The Starfish Story reminds us that one person - truly can - make a difference in the life of a child.
The Starfish Story
One morning, while a man was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!" At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference for that one."
*A little information about the author of The Starfish Story, Loren Eiseley:
Loren Eiseley (September 3, 1907 – July 9, 1977) was an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, who taught and published books from the 1950s through the 1970s. During this period he received more than 36 honorary degrees and was a fellow of many distinguished professional societies. At his death, he was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Biography quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Craig Gibson is the Editor of SensorySpot.com, sister site of the internationally acclaimed AutismSpot.com. He is also a Feature Writer for AutismSpot.com. Craig was diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of six, and spent the next twelve years in special education. He has since earned two degrees and has published on the local and national levels.