She's Got WINGS

Scars left on at-risk kids by their teachers are described in haunting detail in an Education Week column of childhood memories by Marsheila Natachee Ksor, who reminds us of the WINGS Creed: “I love and accept who I am on the inside and know my emotions are nothing to hide.”

Stinging Memories of an At-Risk Kid

Now a teacher at an alternative high school for at-risk kids in Spartanburg, S.C., Marsheila Natachee Ksor writes in Education Week of the shame she felt as a child growing up in poverty. She wants to remind teachers “how hard life is for poor kids.”

She remembers teachers shaking their heads over her unwashed hair, harshly reprimanding her in class when her mind wandered to worries over her alcoholic father, discouraging her from applying to Wofford College as beyond her abilities.

Poignantly she captures how a casual remark or even a tone of voice can crush the spirit of a child already struggling against the odds to succeed. She reminds us how the simplest things represent sources of shame to such kids – being without snacks on test days or not having the wherewithal to bring a gift to the holiday present exchange.

Instead of burying the memories that sting, Marsheila Natachee Ksor writes of these childhood days with grace and insight. She rose above the indignities and the low expectations to graduate magna cum laude from Wofford College. Now she serves as a source of compassion to other at-risk kids.

She’s got WINGS.

Read her commentary (as first appeared in Education Week May 26, reprinted with permission from the author)

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