The room is messy, with toys slung around and opened bottles of paint on the floor. Ten children are moving quickly around the room, except for one little girl huddled in the corner. A woman dressed in jeans, sweater, and tennis shoes is sitting on the floor playing with the girl in the corner. While everyone is noisily playing, the woman and the little girl appear to be in their own bubble oblivious to the others. As the woman gets up, the little girl says, “Torey, don’t go!” It is the first words spoken from the little girl to her teacher, Torey Hayden.
Torey Hayden is a child psychologist, special educator, and advocate for children with disabilities. My mother has read several books written by Torey Hayden. I have listened to her talk about her and what a wonderful teacher she is. Through her stories about Torey, I have developed an interest in her and her books. My mother won’t let me read her stories because she says they are too graphic and I would be upset with the neglect and abuse shown in the books. Still I find her interesting and a very talented and caring person.
Torey Hayden has brown hair and a stocky build. She wears jeans and baggy sweaters and loves to get down and dirty with her students. She loves animals, classical music, reading, writing, and is an avid trekkie. She also can build and repair computers, which in her words makes her a geek. She has been married and divorced and has one daughter Sheena. They currently live in Whales.
Torey has literally saved children’s lives by reaching them when no one else could. She has taught the kids that no one else wanted, and has many times saved them from life in institutions. Many have graduated, gone to college or at the very least have jobs as waitresses or factory workers. Many of them have Torey Hayden to thank for helping them through difficult childhoods in circumstances that were beyond their control.
I believe the education world needs more teachers like Torey Hayden. Her compassion and love for these children made an everlasting impact on their lives. If all educators cared even a little for each student as Torey did about hers, the schools would develop wonderfully independent and confident young people. I would love to meet Torey someday. Maybe she could break my silence.