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Posted by on in Special Education
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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.


Copyright, Tim Ramsey, 2010.

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Tim Ramsey has been an educator since 1983.  He taught middle school and high school for 15 years and served as a school administrator for 15 years before retiring in 2013.  He returned to the classroom where he now teaches writing to seventh graders by day and reading to college freshmen by night.  Tim is an avid writer and has been featured in six Chicken Soup for the Soul compilations.  In addition he has received several first place honors from the Arizona English Teachers Association for its annual “Teachers as Writers Contest.”

  • Guest
    Toni McLaughlin Tuesday, 24 October 2017

    This one hits me right in the heart ... my only pet is a 24-yr-old box turtle, and I have a special needs brother that taught me SO much growing up. You have a very special talent Mr. Ramsey.

  • Guest
    Tim Ramsey Wednesday, 25 October 2017

    Thank you, Toni! As an AP, I oversaw a K-8 special education program placed on my campus. I loved those kids and worked hard to have them accepted in every aspect of our school community. I actually cried writing this piece!!

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