I would love to share my story of overcoming great obstacles as an at-risk student with disabilities to becoming a successful special education teacher with two master’s degrees with your school community, organization or conference attendees. My story is entwined with the successes of my students, the ones that inspire me every day to make a difference in the lives of young people. My students remind me daily the power of perseverance, making good choices, and a positive attitude. My presentation contains my own personal challenges of dealing with my disabilities and breaking through the social biases of disability, paired with poignant anecdotes of how I connect with my students in a unique way fused with poetry and memoir. Ultimately proving that the power of positive student-teacher relationships can lead to increased student achievement and student successes. My presentation will educate others to be more empathetic; charge people with challenges to advocate for their needs; and motivate audience members to embrace and appreciate each other’s special talents and needs. Please contact me if you are interested in booking me for a speaking session.
“Mark Chartier's poems, in the tradition of James Wright and Bob Hicok, tell stories of irreparable damage, but still praise the world as it is. They bear witness to difficult truths about illness, both the speaker's--due to a traumatic brain injury in his youth--and the students who surround him, many suffering from the same wounds of the body and the spirit. There are a few unforgettable poems here, namely "Comfortable," and "A Person in a Position of Trust," which deal with recognition as essential to the path of recovery. Like a scar, "Recovery is its own fingerprint," he writes, which strikes so true. Every injury is unique, but so is its healing, and so is each poem that, like a blotter, captures it in ink.” —David Keplinger
“Mark Chartier’s poems show honesty and connection. His collection brings together the teacher with buoys students in a world forcing them to grow up too fast, heartbreaking confessions about the relationships that fail and save us, and the vulnerability that invites us to carefully look at mental health and disabilities. In these poems, we find letters to patience, persistence, and forgiveness that speak for the voiceless, those struggling with PTSD, the abandoned, and those dreaming of good times. Like tweezers removing a splinter from a squirming child’s hand, we are reminded ‘Nothing beautiful is ever easy.’” —Juan J. Morales
“This wonderful collection of poetry is filled with a compassionate power that very gracefully forces us to question and reevaluate our previously held notions of humanity and empathy as it leads us on a journey whose final destination is the rediscovery of hope. Page after page, we bear witness to the entire range of human emotion and feeling, and without realizing exactly how or why, we find ourselves slowly being illuminated and filled by a light lying just below the surface of each poem that ultimately allows us to see ourselves and the world around us through the eyes of a poet who is unafraid to show us what he and we are, and perhaps more importantly, what we all can one day be.” ---Steve Tompkins
I overcame great obstacles
and you can,
IF YOU BELIEVE,
YOU CAN ACHIEVE!