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The Cowgirl

As everyone else has geared up for another school year, I am taking some time off. My summer has been busier that I ever imagined it would be with 14 students per week, assessment clients and juggling the QuickBooks end of the business.

One of my students this summer was a beautiful, unique and fascinating girl. She is 8, living with her grandparents. According to her grandmother she had a rough beginning and came to live with them early on. Her grandparents live out on a large property with all kinds of animals. She is fair, freckled and has tightly curled strawberry blond hair! If she was brought to tutoring by her grandmother, she wore a dress, girly shoes and was clean as a whistle. If grandfather brought her, she was muddy up to her knees, had enough dirt under her fingernails to plant a potted plant and was dressed for a cattle drive. I came to understand that this earthier demeanor was her authentic, contented self. My dogs loved her. The normal greeting routine for the dogs is that they are blocked off from the tutoring area of the house with child safety gates. Upon seeing a car drive up, they begin to bark savagely at whoever may be approaching. So far out of the multitude of people who have visited our home this year, they have only resisted this behavior with two clients. My dogs never barked when this sweet cowgirl came in the door. In fact, they would come quietly to the gate, sit ever so patiently as if in some type of reverent state waiting for this earthy little angel to pet them. It was an awesome experience.

The cowgirl is a child who has great difficulty learning the alphabetic symbols of our language. She successfully jumped some hurdles this summer and made significant progress. However, it was difficult to say goodbye knowing we had not met our goal and she continued to need intense support. The grandmother invited me to attend a staff meeting to review and collaborate with teachers about her instruction. You can imagine my relief to find out that her teacher had already begun talking with her students about Multiple Intelligences, actually guiding them to identify whether they were musical, logical, spatial, or naturalists setting the stage for an appreciation of our differences. The staff discussed how to accommodate her need for quiet, movement, and so much more. We balanced the conversation about accommodation and support with a discussion of how to set ambitious goals with clear accountability on her part as well as the instructor.

So, my cowgirl has ridden off into the sunset and I am anxiously anticipating my next student adventure. I so love my job!!