Teaching Children Who Are Blind While Raising One, Too

Along with being the parent of a child who is blind, I’m also a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI). While recently spending the day collaborating with another TVI, I was asked a question that I had been asked before. The question was something like, “Is it hard to spend all day working with children who are blind, and then go home and continue the job 24/7 with your own son?”

The answer was a simple and affirmative, “Yes.” Some days it is pretty hard, especially when progress can be slow for students…and progress for my son is always slow. I start wondering if I’m doing any good, or if I’m really educating the kids I work with as well as I should be.

Emily sitting with Eddie

I think that all parents raising a child with special needs ask ourselves similar questions. “Am I pushing them hard enough?” “Am I moving them too fast?” Most importantly, “Am I doing all that I can to help them reach their maximum potential?” Parents ask it…and so do teachers.

So, as a person in both of those roles, I’m asking myself those questions day in and day out. I’m always wondering how I can be better…or do better. Carrying those concerns with me all the time can be a heavy burden.

However, I was reminded that the burden is entirely worth it when I had one of the best days teaching last week. It wasn’t that my students were blowing their goals out of the water, or that I had phenomenal lesson plans. It was simply because every kid I saw that day was SO excited to see me.

Most of these students weren’t kids that could verbalize their joy…but they could show me in their smiles and body language. I entered multiple classrooms and felt like a celebrity every time. Honestly, I don’t know what made me different that day to elicit that kind of reception, but it certainly was above the norm…and I’m certainly not complaining.

Going back to the original question…again, I’d say that it is hard working and living in this world of blindness and special needs…but, I still wouldn’t want to be in any other field. For some reason, I “get” these kids…and I’m 100% sure that Eddie taught me how to do that. As a teacher, I question my skills…but as a person, I know I have something to give. In all honesty, I’m in this field because, of course, they give so much more to me.