Posted at 23:11h
I keep in contact with many of my past students and families. That is one thing so wonderful about this field, the close connections we make and keep.
One of my students called me about 4 years ago very distressed about her life. She said she was tired of depending on everyone to do things for her.
She was in 10th grade and had lost the majority of usable sight. But she still had a speck of sight in the corner of one of her eyes and she was determined to use every ounce of it—and not be classified as blind. However, she grudgingly learned braille but just enough to keep me happy. She had never touched a computer before, so I taught her basic computer skills and within 2 weeks she was back in class independently working away on her computer….slowly but doing it herself. She begged for a para-educator to do all her work, telling me how much faster it would be. I said "Yes it would faster but your skills will never improve." For the next 2 months I heard this topic many many times, but by the end of the 2 months she was so fast, it never came up again. She did fairly well in school and graduated but did not push herself to learn more blind skills.
We talked and emailed several times during the next few years. Every year that remaining speck of sight became worse until it was unusable. One day I got the sorrowful call, which I have gotten before from other students. When the student depends too much on a remainder bit of sight, and they stop learning skills after graduation, only to lose finally that speck of physical vision, they then believe their dreams can't become reality. This was the case with this student.
After calming her down, I told her about a great rehabilitation center in Louisiana where she could go and gain the skills she needed. I told her who to contact and what to do, but it would be up to her to do it.
It was time for the people she relied on to back off. We adults sometimes do way too much for our children and students. I am constantly analyzing myself and making sure I am giving them the skills by making them do their own work.
Sadly, for a long while, this student thought I'd jump in and do the work to get her into the training center, while she sat back. But I didn't. It was difficult to hold off, because I could easily jump in and do everything. But, I knew her life would only change if she applied herself.
She finally did apply herself. She registered for the training center, got approved and went on to graduate. A whole new woman. Completely independent and not afraid to go anywhere or do anything. She now has her own private Massage business and knows how to run it on her own. She is the boss of her destiny now. She can truly live out her dreams and she is dreaming even bigger now. Now that is true VISION….having the skills to see your own potential.