Sunday, April 10, 2011

Labels

In school, we are told time and time again to ignore labels that are all too often placed on children. Often times, I will be handed a folder with 1 word scribbled on a blank. A word that's usually something like autistic, defiant, low, average, anxious, whatever it may be.

Usually, these words are meaningless to me and the people I work with. While they do have an impact on our instruction, they in no way impact the dynamics of our classroom or the community that we have worked so hard to create.

When the label of anorexic was recently placed on my little sister, I struggled with it at first. I thought of the hundreds of times when I've come across a label placed on a kid and laughed about it. Sometimes thinking something like "yeah, I'm not surprised" or "there's no way". I thought about my innate belief that labels don't define a person, they don't make up a person or change a person. They don't interfere with the way I interact with them, talk to them in the morning as we both rush to get ready for school. Labels are what we make of them, what we choose to do with them. Whatever they may be. 

This label does not define my family or my sister. This does not change things or help things or hinder things. This label isn't who she is or who she will be. 

This label is temporary, meaningless, passing quickly. This label is not her. Instead, it is an unwelcome visitor in my house and I am ready for it to leave. 

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