One thing I like about living close (but not too close) to where I teach is sometimes seeing school families out and about in my community. Today, heading from school picture processing to snacks for aide training by way of personal frozen yogurt, I heard a child call my name in an excited voice.
Carla, a general education second grader, was eager to introduce me to her sister, cousin, mom, and aunt. “This is Ms. Beth. She works with Maribell.” I waved, I smiled.
Little cousin had a question, though: “Who’s Maribell?”
The grown ups were looking at me, too. Crud. I can’t just say she’s a kid that I work with. They know I’m not Carla’s teacher: who should I be? How much do I explain, about my job and my students? Should I give the little girls the basic speal about how everyone is different and we all learn different things? Do the grown ups even know that we have an inclusion program? Do I really need to get into any of this?
Carla spoke up before I had to.
“Maribell’s my friend.”