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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Small Teaching Moment that Made a Difference

My sister is a retired elementary school teacher. Each year she included a segment to help the kids be more aware of disabilities. In this segment, she would have each student draw a paper from a bowl listing a disability. The student would then have that disability the rest of the day.

For example, if the disability said "blind", the student would now have to wear a handkerchief or scarf around their head covering their eyes. If they selected "deaf" they had to wear earplugs. If they selected paraplegic, they had to be in a wheelchair the rest of the day.

The students could not trade their disability. After all, you don't get those choices in real life, so they didn't get a choice, either.

Then, as the teacher, she would continue the class without any changes. No allowances were made to accommodate the students new disability. Many could not see the board, hear the lesson, or even do recess.

At first, the kids thought it was fun, but they soon learned it was difficult. By the end of they day, most now had an awareness of what a disability meant.

One of my Sister's students, now age 30+, recently visited her and shared how that disability lesson in 6th grade changed her life. This young woman had selected 'blind' and at first was disappointed because she wanted the wheelchair disability. But by the end of the day, she wanted to do something to help blind people. Her mother listened, and together they started training seeing-eye-dogs for the blind.

A small teaching moment making a change in someone's life.

It is fun to see what triggers a spark that causes a person to change their life - even at such a young tender age.  Well done, Sis, well done.