Earlier I was asking a friend who also writes for this blog about a paper I have to write. We started talking about how Jaws in particular doesn’t say “0.5 inches” when using the tab key. I should point out that NVDA doesn’t either. Anyway, that reminded me of a story, and I’m not sure if I ever posted it on here. Therefore, I’m telling it here. If I have posted it on here, sorry!
When I was in high school I had this English teacher who in my opinion thought she knew more than me. One day I walked into class, and she told that my paper wasn’t formatted correctly. Okay, no problem. It should have ended there, right?
She could have stopped there, and I could’ve not said something about jaws not saying “0.5 inches” when the tab key is pressed. Instead I did, and she said “I called the Missouri school for the blind, and they said that the margins are accessible.” Here I’d like to point out that all I’d said in response was that jaws says random numbers when tab is pressed. I said “Okay, but jaws still says random numbers when the tab key is pressed.” Long story short she continued to argue with me about until lunchtime.
I think it was a miss-understanding. I think if she would have asked about the tab key instead of the margins she would have understood what I meant. It would’ve saved me a lot of trouble.
another story happened with her that same year. At that time I had all of my textbooks in Braille. That spring in early April the school flooded, and the room where my books were got flooded as well. Some of my books including a volume of a literature book I needed got ruined. She argued with me about that one as well. I tried to explained that it got ruined by the water, and she kept saying that I had it. Um… how are you suppose to read a water-logged Braille textbook. I mean, you can’t read a print one, and Braille is a lot like that. Once the pages are stuck together, and the Braille dots pressed down to the point that they’re unreadable, good luck!
what I really wanted to ask here that day, and the day of the tab key incident is if she thought she was smarter than me. Me, who had used this product for years, and me, who had read Braille for years. Does a little knowledge do that to her head? Wow!
Teachers I beg of you, don’t do this to your students. Don’t assume that just because you’re a little older, went to college, called someone, or whatever it is that you know more than them. Don’t just automatically assuming the student is lying because they want to get out of work. If she would’ve known me as well as she thought she would’ve known that I wasn’t. I just wanted to get my diploma, and get out of there. So that I could attend college, and move on with the rest of my life. Remember, and think about the impact that you leave on your students. Because this is what I remember about her most. Not the funny jokes she told, not anything else she could’ve/or did do in the classroom that year, and I certainly I don’t remember any other conversation we had. Just this! Two incidents that I will never forget.
the lesson that I hope all teachers will take from this is to never assume that you know more than the student. Maybe ask for a demonstration of what they’re telling you, or ask why they say what they said. I offered to do a demonstration, and she wouldn’t let me. My goal in writing this is to help all teachers become a better teacher. You can do it! I have faith in you. Thanks for reading!