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Page 18

Kaieteur News

Sunday October 28, 2012

Consummate, gifted teacher Marcia Smith is a 'Special Person’ By Sharmain Grainger Perhaps one of the hardest things for parents to mentally digest is being told that their child 'is not normal'. It was exactly this disclosure that tormented Marcia Smith for a number of years before she found the ultimate solution that helped to not only give her new perspective to life, but also provide her with an enduring passion to help children who are differently-able lead a near-normal life. Through the introduction of Gifted Hands, a school especially designed for children with varying forms of disability, she is not only able to perform the role of a consummate teacher, but to live up to her motto “character is doing for others what they cannot do for themselves when no one is around, because God is watching, not man”. She has over the years learnt to live by this belief since according to her “I know God is watching and that is where my character comes in and

he will judge me for what I've done over the course of my life.” Although equipped with the relevant knowledge and the skills to care for persons who were born into the world with varying forms of disabilities, ranging from Down Syndrome to autism,

learning, which often starts with sitting and develops into paying attention, though their ages range from nine to 44. Marcia's classroom understandably does not mirror the mainstream school system, but it does incorporate teaching

“I know God is watching and that is where my character comes in and he will judge me for what I've done over the course of my life.” Marcia was only, on April 16 of this year, able to secure a location and establish a school of her own. She had for over three years previously offered her services to two separate entities. Though to the normal person her school is made up of a single room located within a bigger educational institution (Chase Academy) situated at 120 Parade Street, Georgetown, to the children she attends to five days a week, it is the beginning of

guidelines from the Ministry of Education, governed by a daily timetable. She confided during an interview that “it is not the easiest task to teach a child who gives you no eye contact and has an attention span of zero, but there is no way that I am going to give up on any of them. They are all special in their own way and they are unique gifts, and as we all know, a lot of times we have to open a gift before we can really see its beauty. So I will keep working with

them until they find their purpose in this life, and I know there is a purpose for each of them,” said a smiling Marcia as she fondly overlooked her small classroom. A typical school week begins with the reciting of the National Pledge and then the National Anthem and sometimes her classroom is flooded with singing voices, though not all in harmony. Reciting of the days of the week is also a major part of classroom sessions, as is awareness of various holidays and other significant days and weeks of the year. However the high point of most of her students' day is colouring time, which often sees them devoting much care and attention to their colouring piece of choice. However, Marcia has learnt that nothing surpasses oral teaching backed by rewards, which often comes

Marcia Smith

in the form of something eatable. Though her voice is sometimes drowned out by uncontrollable wails and mild tantrums, Marcia, by a mere glance, is able to discern her students' needs and appease their concerns with absolute certainty. There are times that their needs are met by a simple hug from their ever-so

attentive teacher, who revealed that each child is treated with the love and compassion that she demonstrates to her own children, since she learnt just under a decade ago “to do for others what you would like them to do for you”. Despite the fact that compassion is an absolute necessity in the classroom, a (continued on page 48) Sharing a special hug with son Jared

Giving her undivided attention to a student as another waits his turn

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