Friday, October 15, 2010

A Teacher At WSD Changed My Son's Life

I have been writing about the budget cuts at WSD. There are so many reasons I am concerned about this. We have moved on to another school but I believe it is the responsibility of all parents to support other families. There are families who will not be receiving the rich resources we had access too. So today I am going to talk about one teacher. My son was surrounded by highly qualified educators at his time at WSD this is just an example of how the school helps the kids access their right to education.

When my son was in preschool I found out there was going to be a new teacher. I was concerned that this new teacher would not be fluent in ASL. I was hoping for a qualified Deaf teacher. She was hearing. I wondered if she would hold to kids to the high standard they deserved. I was worried she would talk in front of them to other adults. To be honest I wasn't happy.

At registration while others went from station to station figuring out lunch fees and bus schedules I tracked down the new teacher. I wanted to meet her and make sure she understood what I expected (in a friendly fashion of course). Looking back I was a bit of a jerk. I walked into her room and saw she had taken the time to paint the entire room and sew pillows for a reading corner. It was simply preschool heaven. I pushed that aside because my son doesn't need to meet Martha Stewart he needs a solid education.

I basically aired all of my opinions and told her one concern I had was the kids had no real exposure to the world at large. The planet as a living changing diverse community was not explored at school. I told her my concern is the children can't learn empathy and tolerance if they don't explore the lives of others. I also ranted about the lack of integrated ciriculum.

What followed humbled me. She had  developed an ABC ciriclulum. Every letter coresponded to a country. A was Afghanistan. They children conected this country to every subject. Math I saw cooking, English was in research and report, social studies was the day the kids had to wear burkas . She built a book for each kid to bring home. We still have this book in our living room.

At one presentation she decided the kids needed manners and brought in her family china. The tea party was an event to remember. The kids presented and showed their parents manners and their presentations on other topics . One child broke a cup. The parents were  in frozen fear.

" No worries that is how we learn" and she meant it.

That first year I got to know this teacher I began to have the highest respect for her. She got it. My son excelled. She also attacked core curriculum with a vengeance. She expected every child to rise to the occasion and they did.

This teacher has invested many out of school hours for the children she works with. Today I had the honor of paying back a bit. I sat and volunteered at the deaf school. I sat with her . She created a auction for this sinking ship. Cheers my friend.

 Haddy had rehearsal and missed tonight, but I am grateful.

He really wanted to see a staff person, Lisa. She made him feel normal for so many years. He would tell me her stories and connect the dots. I know in my heart she knows he adores her.

 I will always support this place we came from. This school with all of it's warts and bruises is a place of saving.


  1. That's a nice tribute... honoring the teacher for her hard work and her dedication to see the students excel :-)

  2. Beautiful story! I believe that we all should be giving the schools that our children attended and benefited from the credit they deserve. Writing a letter to the Superintendent so he/she can use it as testimony to show the state government the value of the Deaf School.


  3. Thank you for a truly lovely testament to a wonderful teacher. Examples like this are the the true arguments for making space for these special places, special people to be there for our children.

    I remember making the beginnings of a fuss when I found that my daughter's van driver wasn't fluent in ASL, despite hauling a bunch of very precious deaf kids to and from school each day -- 4 hours round trip. All of the "but, what ifs... " came rushing to mind. But instead of someone who couldn't sign to my child, I found a wonderful, caring woman who can and does reach every single one of those kids, words or no, and has been there for my baby for two years now. Changed my outlook.

  4. I think the budget cuts are a gift that will allow us to make overdue changes in Deaf Schools. They say that you need a sense of urgency to create change and the budget cuts put pressure on and create that sense of urgency. I would advocate for closure of WSD and other schools for the deaf and a push toward integration of deaf children in the life of our public schools. Deaf schools are not the only places where competent signers are also caring teachers -- those individuals work in public and private schools for children at large. Public education is a fundamental issue of democracy and deaf children deserve it and have a right to it.


  5. Thank you for your comments. Good idea Tami! Li-Li's mom, thank you for sharing your story.

    Maz you bring up some interesting points. I am sure your perspective is shared by many. I think I will blog about this. These are the kind of topics that I believe brings everyone to the table for thoughtful discourse. Thanks for sharing your opinion.