Excitement raced through the 7th graders as they neared the area by Gate 2. Today they were going to experience something that most never do – interacting with kids that have special needs. Continuing the advisory focus on empathy, this happens every year for 7th grade. Kids ranging from 6 until 25 years came from the Aanchal school, located near AES. We were told not to be intimidated by their age, since their mental age may be a few years behind. They were split into groups by age for each advisory.
Activities had been planned beforehand, taking place on the Middle School field. There was a drawing station, a parachute station (a giant tarp, basically), a station where you crawled through a fabric cylinder and could use hula-hoops to make an obstacle course, a soccer station, and a bowling station. All was set to start.
As the Aanchal School kids trickled in, we could see that some (mainly older kids) were very excited, as they had done this before. Others (mainly younger kids), looked nervous at the sight of so many people.
Soon, the activities started. My advisory was partnered up with kids from 6-12 years old. This particular group had a hard time focusing on one station at a time. They did whatever they wanted. I think I speak for many 7th graders when I say that it was absolutely tiring to keep running after the younger kids. One 6 year old in my group even had a temporary interest in a tractor used to tend to the field. Before this I didn’t think it was humanly possible to hold interest in something for 2 seconds or less before moving on.
One last thing I was thinking about: These teachers are facing very similar challenges to AES teachers–constantly running around after us kids. Since I had a taste of what that must be like I am more empathetic to our hardworking teachers.
Overall, I think I and most was happy to have done it, as it gave me a new experience I could share. Though tiring and hard, it was fun to go outside of my own mini-world. Next time I will be ready for it.