MOUNT DESERT — An essay by Karen Sharpe, a special education teacher at Mount Desert Elementary School who lives in Bar Harbor, is featured in the spring 2017 edition of “Teaching Tolerance” magazine, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The essay, part of the magazine’s “Why I Teach” series, is subtitled “A Little Girl and a Horse Named Freckles.”
In it, Sharpe tells of her relationship with a special-needs child she has worked with for several years. A key moment, she said, was when the student recalled Sharpe once telling her that, as a youngster, she had a horse named “Freckles.”
“Moments like this are why I teach,” Sharpe said in the essay.
She said her desire to help people who need a voice goes back to her own childhood.
“I was always moved by the plight of the smallest and weakest kittens in a litter,” she said. “Later, at my elementary school, I found that I gravitated toward the marginalized children who watched from the periphery but did not join in the fun on the playground. These were children who needed a voice, an advocate.”
Sharpe taught fifth grade for 13 years but always had a particular desire to help children who needed special attention.
“As I encountered struggling students in my classroom, I yearned to have more time to devote to them,” she said. “What they needed was just the right teaching method and a little more one-on-one time with their teacher.
“I am thankful for those teaching moments when the unlikely becomes a possibility.”
Sharp lives in Bar Harbor with her husband, Jeff Dobbs, and their son, Grady.