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THE REWARDS OF TEACHING

By Christopher AndreaeSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / December 16, 1991



Children with special needs often come to Clay Cross Infant School for help. Before Helen Sabin began as a permanent teacher seven years ago, she had come here part-time to teach two Pakistani children who spoke no English. She also worked with a Chinese boy for a while.Last year in her "Reception" class she had a small boy who wouldn't speak. His mother said he talked at home, but outside not a word to anyone. "I had him two terms," says Mrs. Sabin. "I thought he was able to read. He would take a book home." And he loved being read to. He was sent for therapy. "Message came back: 'You've got to be really horrible and don't let him do anything he wants to do, Sabin recalls. "Well, in my own mind I couldn't do that." Instead, she tried time and again to persuade him to read his book to her in class. When he didn't, she had him put it away again. Eventually, she succeeded. "It was something he really wanted to do.... One dinner time I got hold of his hand and I said, 'Come on and let's find that book and see if you can read it to me. Went into the classroom and shut the door. Sat him on my knee or put my arm round him. m sure you can read this book.' Then there was a tiny little voice - the word was 'where that's it! And from there it just came and came." Mrs. Sabin went up to the staff room and told everyone. "I was so pleased. We all were."

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