The little boy dropped his backpack on the kitchen floor and thrust his writing assignment at his mother. She could barely understand him through his sobs. “She didn’t even read it!” he shrieked. “I spent all night writing. She told us to write about what we know…and she didn’t even read it!!”
His mother wiped away his tears (and then her own) and put her arm around her son. She took the wrinkled paper and said, “Then I’ll read it.”
Turtels are reptils that live on land and in water. Thay have hard shells that protect there sensativ bodys. Sometimes thay pull their bodys into there shells, espeshuley when thay are fritend.
Turtels are slow-moving creturs. But thay have determonashun. Thay know wear thay want to go, but it takes them longer than most aminuls to get there.
Turtels ushuley live long lives. Some live for over 100 years. But thay ushuley live alone. Maybe thay like that, but it sounds pretty sad.
Turtels are pretty quite aminuls. But if you listen close enuf, you can here there voises. Some pepol keep pet turtels in cages. I’ve never heard a caged turtel’s voise tho.
The aminul I am most like is the turtel. Just a Speshul Ed turtel. I hide inside myself – inside my shell – when I get scared. I am the slowest person in my class, but I still can reach my goals if I set my mind to it.
I ushuley work by myself and play by myself and eat by myself. That’s okay. I’m used to being alone. Pepol say I never talk, but thay just don’t listen hard enuf.
Pepol need to proteck the turtels of the world.
At the top of the page, the teacher had written in red ink:
“You were supposed to write a personal narrative not an essay. Perhaps you should save this for your science project. Work on your spelling first!”
Protect the turtles.
Tim Ramsey is the assistant principal of Garden Lakes Elementary School in Avondale, Arizona, where he oversees the school’s K-8 program supporting his district’s mildly mentally retarded students. He has taught students at the elementary, secondary, community college and university level. He currently teaches evening classes for Estrella Mountain Community College and Northern Arizona University (Distance Learning). Tim enjoys writing and shares this passion with students in presentations throughout the year. Recognized by the Arizona English Teachers Association and awarded first place status in its “Teachers as Writers” competition (1996, 2010). In addition, he has had selections published in two Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies (2010, 2011). Contact Tim via email at email@example.com.
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This post originally appeared on our September/October 2011 Magazine