I have to admit -- I think I've fallen in love with a class. That's them in today's pic. They're Sebastian Piquette's students from Mackay Centre School. My pal, photographer Monique Dykstra (that's her in the white sweater), and I have been working with Sebastian's class (that's Sebastian standing by the window, in a grey top), helping them use words and photos to produce a chapter in this year's edition of Quebec Roots: The Place Where I Live. Quebec Roots is an educational program sponsored by the Blue Metropolis Literary Foundation.
Several classes from schools across Quebec are participating. Each class comes up with their own topic. Sebastian's students decided to write and take photos about what life in a wheelchair is like.
I've certainly learned a lot from these terrific terrific kids.
If you've been at one of my writing workshops, you may remember that I get a lot of ideas in the shower! Well, before our last workshop with the Mackay students, I took a quick shower and came up with what I thought was a good idea -- to get the students to work together to produce a list of what they want the rest of us to know about how to treat them.
Later that morning, we did a brainstorming exercise and I was deeply moved -- and also enlightened -- by what the students had to say. We produced the following list. (It'll appear in this year's edition of Quebec Roots, so consider this a sneak preview!).
1. We don’t like it when you stare at us. We are not strange.
2. Be friendly to us. We are regular kids who happen to go to school in wheelchairs. Yeah man!
3. If you see us struggling to pick something up or open or close a door, ask us, “Do you need my help?” Don’t just walk past us without saying anything.
4. Be patient with us. Some of us stutter or have difficulty speaking.
5. We are powerful. We can do everything even if it is sometimes hard.
6. Don’t feel sorry for us. We are happy.
Now I bet you can tell why I've fallen in love with this class. And wait until you see the photos they've been shooting!
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I love this blog. It was a wonderful experience watching you work together with the students. Thank you for inviting me! I can't wait to read their chapter and see the photos