To my teachers reading my blog today:
Today is the first birthday of Veronica With Four Eyes, the blog that I created to share my life with low vision and chronic illness. On this blog, I have written almost daily about my experiences going through school, attending college, and navigating through life with four eyes and a blindness cane. It has become a resource for people from all over the world, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.
And for that, I thank you.
Going through public school, I learned what a great teacher looks like. It’s someone who embraces all types of students, maybe without realizing they are doing so. I think about how fortunate I am to have had a geography teacher that never questioned my accommodations and just gave them to me. I remember my geometry teacher who turned a class that terrified me into one of the best math classes I have ever taken. I open my computer to type and think of my computer teachers in elementary and high school who encouraged me to advocate for students with low vision. And how could I forget my band directors who helped me adjust to life with a chronic illness? There’s too many amazing people to list.
There are some teachers who, maybe for reasons out of their control, were not able to accommodate me and my IEP in the classroom. I used to imagine how someday I would reveal all of the things these teachers did and how much things would change if/when I did that. I wanted everyone to read about what had happened and make a change. But negativity is not the way to do that.
My mom always told me that the best revenge is living well, and that I should not use my blog as a platform for bashing teachers, or speak negatively of them in general. The truth is, I learned so much from these less than ideal classroom environments. I may not remember what books I read at which time in English, but I do remember learning how to create my own accessible materials from my desk. And though my Spanish has improved over the years, my main memory is learning all about accessible textbooks and how to get them. And I can’t forget the teachers who pushed me to take classes virtually, so I could be in an environment where everything was accessible. I like to think my blog would be less exciting if I hadn’t gone through these experiences, or the blog might not even exist at all.
So to all of the teachers I have had, thank you for the influence you have had on me over the years. I have never forgotten how you treated me, and you inspire me every day to continue to write and help others. Thank you for helping a quiet student with glasses transform into a strong advocate for those like her.
Class of 2015