You don't look blind.

On my first day of class I walked in, and sat down. The teacher started lecturing on the first day’s lesson. Everything was going fine.

There was a slight hick-up on the way to the college when I realized that I’d forgotten my digital voice recorder. However, I remembered that I could record the lecture on my Iphone. So, for that moment at least it was fine.

I was sitting there staring at the white board in front of me. I could see that it was the white board because it looked different from the wall. Plus the teacher would occasionally stand in front of it. Occasionally when she stood there I could hear the sound the marker makes when someone’s writing on a white board. I was doing my best to pay attention to what the teacher was saying.

Then, the teacher asked for us to get into groups. She said that was the way we were going to work out problems in her class. Fine with me! So, we all get into groups, and start working on whatever problem we were assigned.

After about five minutes the teacher gets our attention again. She tells us that one of us is to introduce each member of our group. Then, explain how we got the answer we did.

I’m not quite sure how this occurred, but at some point the instructor started working out a problem on the board. She asked if we could all see it, and I whisper to my scribe that I can’t see what’s on the board I tell him that I’m also confused because I don’t know what’s on the board. So, he starts reading it to me.

I’m going to pause in my story, and say Teachers, instructors, and professors. Please for the love of your job tell the blind student what you’re writing on the board. Practice what you’re reading out loud before you have them in class if you have too. But please tell them what you’re writing. We need to know this information just as badly as our sighted peers.

So, back to the story. One of the girls looks over at my scribe, and says something to him that I don’t hear. He responds with “I’m telling her what’s on the board.” The girl says: “Why?” My scribe says:” “Because she can’t see.” Girl: *probably says something about moving.* Scribe: “No really. She can’t see. She’s blind.” Girl: “Really?” Scribe: “Yeah.” Girl: “Are you serious?” Scribe: “Yeah.” Girl: “That’s cool!” Girl to me: “Are you really blind??” Me: “yeah.” Girl: “I didn’t know that. You do it well.” Me not knowing what she meant: “Thanks! I try.”

I still don’t know what she meant. If it’s the blindness thing she was talking about. I wonder what she was expecting? I wanted to ask her that, but we moved on before I could. 🙂 Whatever she expected. I hope now she’ll expect more the next time she meets a blind person. Especially if it’s a student.

Thanks for reading!

Reflection of my Geography: Western world class

I have debated writing a blog about this. I think I’ve finally decided to do this. So, let’s have it. Here goes nothing!

I kind of liked this class. I went into it feeling really nervous. Because my friends had told me what to expect. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete the map project. (a series of maps that is part of your grade in that class.) I worried about how I was going to do the tests. I worried about whether or not the tests had maps, or pictures that needed to be described. All before the first day of class I should point out that this was an online class. I would have taken one in the classroom, but there wasn’t one available.

*first day of class* *takes the attendance quiz to let the instructor know that I was going to be participating in the class. So I wouldn’t be dropped* A few weeks later: *gets email about the test. *asks instructor through replies how I’m going to take the test Tells her that I’m blind.* *continues to look for the book in any other textbook format other than print. Wants to read it on my own.* Instructor: *responds that she wasn’t told that I would be joining her class, and that I was blind. Apologizes. Asks if there’s anything I need. How do I usually take my tests?* Me: * feels really bad for not emailing her on the first day, and letting her know about my disability. Tells her how I usually take my test.* Instructor: *says she’ll send the test over to where I usually take them.*

Test time: *bad weather hits. Causing the cancelation of all classes* A couple of weeks later just about: Me: *emails instructor to ask about test.* Instructor. *admits she forgot, and apologizes* Me: *eventually takes first test. Passes.*

Map project due: Me: *panics* How am I going to do this? Me: *emails instructor with problem.* Instructor: *admits when didn’t think about it, and that she’d work on it* I should point out here that I had a few weeks before it was due. Also, I was use to being in the presence of a teacher. So, it didn’t even occur to me to email her about my blindness.

My alternative for the map project when it finally comes in is going to be turned in a little later than everyone else’s it, but that’s alright. I have her permission to do this. She tried several ideas with the office of disabilities coordinator, but none of them worked out. Finally they just had to order a Braille atlas. It was in Grade one Braille. Someone please tell me that there’s a grade two world atlas floating out there somewhere?

Now, here’s where it gets complicated. Instead of working with the only employee at the school who knows Braille, or pulling in another blind student who may or may not know how to work the embosser in the music room. She prints out all of the labels. Now admittedly, the college employee only knows grade one Braille, but I’ll take, and be grateful for whatever I get.

Yeah. You heard that. She used print labels. The whole time I was finding whatever I was suppose to find. I was thinking: “What if I had no sighted help, and no way of getting it?” I’m sure that someone at the college would’ve helped me, but print labels? I want to do as much as possible by myself. *cries inside* I don’t even like having someone read a print book to me. unless I absolutely can’t find it in another format

In all though, it was a good class. The instructor was grate about working with me. I mean she even had alternatives set up in case I needed help. You know, just in case no one was around to help me. Which, was grate in itself.

Geo instructor! If for some reason, somehow you come across this. Please know that I appreciated you helping me. While I would’ve loved to read my own textbook, or complete the map project by myself. I understand that you can’t think of everything. I hope that by reading this, or by my being in your class. You’ve learned something about blind people that you didn’t know before, and will apply it to your next blind student. Because really, that’s why I do these reflections. So, that anyone who is in the field of teaching can learn from others, or my experiences.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!

A full review of Art for the elementary teacher.

I know, today’s Tuesday, but somehow my Monday ran away from me. So, here I am begging for your forgiveness for posting a school related thing on Tech Tuesday. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. 🙂

I promised you that I would keep you up to date on how my classes were going this semester. Especially the art, math, and geography ones. So, I thought why not write reviews? So, here goes nothing

Let’s start with the art class. I went in with a bad feeling that this wasn’t going to work so well. Due to my horrible experiences from elementary school. These weren’t bad assumptions. However, I soon learned that my assumption were wrong.

As I had previously mentioned the art instructor had someone (more than one actually) in her family who was blind. So, that helped a lot. I explained to her my reservations, and she said she’d try to work with me. Which, she did.

The projects consisted of a lot of cutting. Which then turned in to a lesson how to teach left-handed people how to cut. Only because I’m left-handed, and I was holding the scissors wrong.

I had a scribe in there which helped also. He drew stuff when needed, and cut out things that I wasn’t sure I could. Such as shapes, and stuff. I knew I couldn’t see the lines to follow them, so he did it for me.

He also helped me pick out colors of construction paper. When we did our sewing project he helped me make sure I was sewing properly. Yes we did a sewing project in art for the elementary teacher. We made an angry bird.

When I was doing my project that I ended up using as my final presentation in there. He helped me out when I made mistakes. He also guided me in the beginning because I kept mixing up the over and under thing

Now for those presentations. We had to give at least three presentations. Two of them we got to sit at the table, and give them, but one we had to stand up. We had to actually teach a lesson, and she showed us how we should always have examples.

Because there were only seven or eight of us in the class. She made it sort of an informal thing. She just had us all meet around one of the back tables right before class each day. While there we completed a number of projects such as: the angry bird project, family portraits, self-portraits, and our final project. Our bird hat.

I think I really made the instructor think out of the box. When it came time for the family, and self-portraits. In the end she ended up having me make mine out of felt, and poster board. She and my scribe cut out my body, arms, hair ETC from the felt, and I placed where I thought they should go. The same thing was done with the family portrait.

Something that I found interesting. she used purple glue sticks. Instead of the regular ones. I don’t recall my art teacher ever doing that. Then again, I wasn’t in art for very long. She said it was because the kids could see the purple, and know how much glue they were putting on. Whereas, with the regular glue sticks they can’t. So they end up putting on more than what is needed.

She likes to say that I taught her, and the rest of my class a lot. I’m not denying that. I feel like that is my mission. 🙂 However, she taught me a lot as well. She taught me that art can be fun. Especially when the art teacher is willing to work with me. The blind person. I don’t mean sit there, and help me the whole class time. I mean come up with projects that I could do. Instead of wringing one’s hands, and saying “I don’t know what to do with her. I don’t know what to do.” Then, not taking anyone’s suggestions, or listening to what anyone had to say. Thank you art instructor. (here is where I would use her name… If I had gotten her permission for it. Except that I didn’t) I really, really, appreciate that you took the time to think outside of the box. 🙂

Thanks for reading!
P. S.. If you’re reading this. Thanks for having me in your class! 🙂

Trying something new: Online classes.

Hi everyone! So tomorrow I’m doing something I never thought I’d do. Or at the very least I said I was going to try, and avoid doing it.

What is it? I’m taking a couple of online classes. That avoiding doing it thing? Yeah… that worked until this semester. It turns out that the only way a couple of them are available is by taking them online. Boo hiss!

I’m really unsure what to expect. I’m not even sure if I’ll do alright in an online class. I’ve always felt better taking a class in the classroom.

The only class I’m really concerned about is my geography class. That’s because you have to label maps, and stuff. According to friends who’ve taken this class previously. At least the instructor knows about me, and as far as I know she is willing to work with me. Maybe she’ll have a solution that I don’t.

The other class I have to take that I’m worried about is an art class. At least that class will be taught in the classroom. I just hope the instructor comes up with some nonexclusive ways to modify her lessons. I hate being excluded from things because I feel like it takes away from my learning process.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. I don’t really have much to write about at the moment. I’ll be sure to update everyone on how the art class, and the online classes are going. As always, if you have ideas, suggestions ETC for what we should blog about/or make a podcast of. Please send them our way. Find our contact info on our contact us page, or in some recent blogs. Thanks for reading!

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Office of disabilities card

Hello!
I promised you I’d come back, and explain what the office of disabilities card is. What better day than to day… a monday, and college day. Here goes nothing.
Basically it’s this card that you’re suppose to take with you from class to class on the first day. It’s a laminated piece of paper. It has the Coordinator’s name as well as your name, student id number (used to identify you in college in the U. S.), and the ecomidations that your teachers/instructors/professors will need to make in order to teach you properly. It might contain things like “must sit in front of the room for listening purposes”
Only the office of disabilities can give you such a card. At least that’s how it works in my college. The purpose of us carrying it around is so the instructor/teacher/professor can match it to the copy they already have. As well as to match it with your face I’m assuming. They also use it to go over the ecomidations with you, and make sure they can understand them correctly At least I’m assuming that’s what their doing when they ask me questions. 🙂
Another thing is that the cards only last for two years. So after that if you’re still in college with that particular college you’d have to get it renewed. At least that’s how it works in the college I go to. If yours is different let me know. I’m actually really curious.
Thanks for reading!

The last straw!

I know that we normally do college stuff on Monday, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post this story, so if you would please bare with me that’d be great. Here goes nothing!
A week or so ago we were in this heatwave thing. We had heat advisories, and everything. So, my dad decides that we’re going to go to class about 10-20 minutes early. Once we got there however, he discovered that there was another class happening in the classroom where I’d normally have class. (surprise, Surprise!) So we just stood in the hallway for a few minutes against the wall.
When we walked down the hallway my instructor came up to me, and said “I need to talk to you.” I said “Okay.” He proceeds to tell me that he was wrong, that he does in fact need to see my Office of disabilities card (more on that in another blog.), and that when I’d asked before he’d said that he honestly didn’t care, and meant it. (he’s an easy going guy.) He said that he’d gotten an email about it that morning, and asked that I show it to him when he came in the classroom. Before he walked away he said “I’ll be there in a few minutes.” (keep this in mind because I’ll come back to it later.) I agree, everything’s fine, and he walks away.
The next thing I know my dad’s walking away from me, and down the hall where my instructor is trying and failing to find something. (what he’s trying to find isn’t important to the story.) The next thing I hear is my dad asking “Did you need to see this card?” (refer to our conversation in the paragraph above.) So, the instructor starts looking at my card, and asking questions of… you guessed it… my dad. Also, what else was he suppose to do? I mean, my dad pretty much shoved the stupid card in his face.
Anyway, long story short. If you have to take your child to college/school for whatever reason let them advocate for themselves especially if they’re old enough too. I’d say start advocating for yourself (I’m talking to the children here, but this is also good advice for parents) as a teenager, perhaps younger, or slightly older. That is of course depending on both you, the parent/parents, and everyone else who could/should teach you how to advocate for yourself. I realize that you are mommy or daddy, but at this point (college) your child should know how to speak up for themselves. If they can’t speak up for themselves, that’s a completely different story. Most of all please pay attention. If your child just had a whole complete conversation with professor/instructor/teacher about what they need to give them, what they need to do, or whatever in the classroom don’t then go and pretty much undermine your kid. I’m speaking from experience when I say that it’s both annoying, and embarrassing for your child. It makes them feel less independent. Also, remember that once your child reaches college it is then their responsibility to complete their homework. Shouldn’t it then be their responsibility to make sure their accommodations are being met, to meet with professor/instructor/teacher if they have problems or questions, and most importantly shouldn’t they be responsible for everything that goes along with that?
Conclusion to the story:
In case anyone is wondering I came home, ranted to my mom, and she said she’d talk to my dad. Though, it probably should have been me I’m glad she did. So far he seems to be doing slightly better. There were other parts of the story that I didn’t include here because I didn’t feel like it was relevant to this blog, he’s still struggling with some of those things I think, and I can’t say for certain he won’t undermine me again. A situation like the one that presented itself a week or so ago hasn’t occurred yet.

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