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Just Another Kid: Each was a child no one could reach – until one amazing teacher embraced them all

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2019 год
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      Just Another Kid: Each was a child no one could reach – until one amazing teacher embraced them all
Torey Hayden

A dramatic and remarkable narrative of an extraordinary teacher's determination, from the author of the Sunday Times bestsellers ‘The Tiger's Child’ and ‘One Child’.Torey Hayden faced six emotionally troubled kids no other teacher could handle – three recent arrivals from battle-torn Northern Ireland, badly traumatised by the horrors of war; an eleven-year-old boy, who only knew life inside an institution; an excitable girl, aggressive and sexually precocious at the age of eight; and seven-year-old Leslie, perhaps the most hopeless of all, unresponsive and unable to speak. But Torey's most daunting challenge turns out to be Leslie's mother, a stunning young doctor who soon discovers that she needs Torey's love and help just as much as the children.‘Just Another Kid’ is a beautiful illustration of nurturing concern, not only for a few emotionally disturbed children, but for one woman facing a personal battle.

Torey Hayden

Just Another Kid

Contents

Cover (#ud5e779d6-3bea-5974-8770-1310ebf7803a)

Title Page (#u9ae4e127-79be-53fa-a259-0e3073b4ad2b)

Chapter 1 (#u9ec112d0-6877-5b2d-b8ac-d92a994a0480)

Chapter 2 (#uca787ace-030b-5a84-a0a1-b61ee99e3ac8)

Chapter 3 (#uc333f500-8622-5c19-9523-652c322499a7)

Chapter 4 (#uc49b3344-df08-5c85-979c-45bf189e6939)

Chapter 5 (#ub2d21076-0ab8-5e44-8dfe-ab3f79387f17)

Chapter 6 (#u2c0b984b-d352-59c1-b1e3-999ad1bb6b3d)

Chapter 7 (#u4985cc23-49e7-5508-a173-bd72c04f3172)

Chapter 8 (#u6b53b40f-0518-5186-a4b6-44b640385003)

Chapter 9 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 10 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 11 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 12 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 13 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 14 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 15 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 16 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 17 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 18 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 19 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 20 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 21 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 22 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 23 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 24 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 25 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 26 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 27 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 28 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 29 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 30 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 31 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 32 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 33 (#litres_trial_promo)

Epilogue (#litres_trial_promo)

Exclusive sample chapter (#litres_trial_promo)

Torey Hayden (#litres_trial_promo)

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 1 (#ulink_4a1863d5-2eac-5e0f-a7b1-67b179da1152)

It was a hodgepodge setup, that classroom, not unlike the rest of my life at the time. The room was huge, a cavernous old turn-of-the-century affair with a twelve-foot-high ceiling and magnificent large windows that looked out on absolutely nothing worth seeing: a brick wall and the chimney stack of the heating plant next door. A hefty chunk of the room had been partitioned off with gray steel industrial shelving units, used to store the school district’s staff library. The L-shaped area that was left, was mine. Windows ran the length of the wide, long arm of the L, where the chairs and worktable were; the narrow, shorter arm of the L contained the chalkboard on one wall and the door at the far end. It was an adequate amount of space; I had taught in considerably more cramped conditions, but it was a quirky arrangement. The blackboard was useless because it couldn’t be seen from the work area. And short of standing like a sentry at the junction of the two arms of the L, I could not monitor the door. Most eccentric, however, was the district’s decision to combine a classroom for disturbed children with a staff library.

This was to be the first official self-contained classroom in the district for E.D.—emotionally disturbed—children since the mainstreaming law had come into existence back in the seventies. I was called a consultant resource person in my job description; the children were termed behaviorally disordered; and the classroom was known, on paper, only as The Center, but we’d come full circle. For me, walking back into the schoolroom that late August morning, having been gone from teaching almost six years, had provoked a sense of intense déjà vu. It seemed simultaneously as if I had been away forever and yet had never left at all.

I hadn’t meant to be teaching again. I’d been abroad for almost two years, working full time as a writer, and I intended to return to my life in Wales, to my stone cottage, my dog and my Scottish fiancé. But family matters had brought me home, and then I’d gotten embroiled in the interminable red tape involved with gaining a permanent British visa. Every conceivable problem cropped up, from lost bank records to closed consulates, and one month’s wait stretched out to three and then four, with no clear prospect of the visa’s arrival. Disconcerted and annoyed, I traveled among friends and family.

A friend of a friend rang me one afternoon. I’d never met her, but she’d heard of me, she said. And she’d heard about my problem. They had a problem of their own, it seemed, and she was wondering if maybe we couldn’t help one another out. One of their senior special education teachers had been taken unexpectedly and seriously ill. There were only ten days left before the beginning of the new school year, and they had no immediate recourse to another special education teacher. Would I be interested in some substitute teaching?

No, I’d said immediately. I was waiting for this stupid visa. If it came through, I wanted to be able to leave instantly. But the woman wasn’t easily put off. Think about it, she said. If my visa did come through early, I could leave. They could find another substitute, if necessary. But otherwise, it would be a good way to spend my time. Just think about it, she urged.

Still I’d said no, but by the time the Director of Special Education contacted me, I had mellowed to the idea. Okay, I said. Why not?

Sitting there amid the paraphernalia accumulated for the start of another school year, I stared out the window at the smokestack, dull and gray in the summer sunshine. I was coming to the nettling conclusion that I wasn’t a very well directed sort of person. I didn’t have a career so much as a series of collisions with interesting opportunities. After ages away from teaching, an abortive Ph.D. attempt, several years in private research, a spell as a clinical psychologist, and time abroad spent writing, here I was again, sitting at a table converted by clutter into my teacher’s desk. I enjoyed such unpredictability and diversity; indeed, I thrived on it. But I was also growing increasingly sensitive to how capricious my lifestyle actually was.

A knock on the door brought me sharply out of my thoughts.

“Torey?” a voice called. I couldn’t see who it was from where I was sitting, so I rose. A secretary from the front office had her head around the door. “One of your kids has arrived,” she said. “The parents are in the front office.”

The old building was no longer used as a school, but rather it housed the district administration offices, most of which were on the ground floor. I had the entire upper floor to myself as the rest of the rooms were used only for storage. In fact, there were only two functional classrooms in the whole building, mine and that of the full-day program for educable retarded preschoolers two floors below, in the basement. So the halls were hauntingly quiet on this first day of school.

I followed the secretary down to the large main office, alive with clacking typewriters and cluttering word processors. A man and a woman were standing in front of the chest-high barrier that served as a reception desk. They would have been a remarkable-looking couple in any circumstance. The man must have been at least seven feet tall, because I, at almost five feet ten inches, did not even reach his shoulder. But in spite of his size, he was soft and delicate looking, with gray hair in loose, tousled curls, like a child’s. He appeared to be in his late fifties, and although not particularly handsome, he was attractive in the way aging men are, an attractiveness born more of confidence than anything physical.

The woman, who looked to be only in her thirties at the most, was startlingly beautiful. Indeed, I had never seen anyone up close who looked like she did. She was tall and angular, with chiseled cheekbones and a Kirk Douglas cleft in her chin. Her eyes were pale green, genuinely green, like cat’s eyes, only lighter, and quite prominent, giving her an intense, almost arrogant appearance. Her hair was a dark, tawny blond and very, very long. Although straight, it was thick and unruly, flowing about her like a lion’s mane. Hers was an elegant, assured kind of beauty, the sort one doesn’t usually find outside fashion magazines, and it seemed rather out of place in real life, but it had an arresting effect on me.

“Good morning,” I said and extended my hand. “I’m Torey Hayden.”

The man reached forward and gave my hand a quick, damp shake. The woman didn’t move. She was very casually dressed and made up, but there was nothing casual about her demeanor at all. Every muscle was taut. It made her beauty more impressive. She bristled with beauty, keeping it drawn up around her like a cloak.
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