Friday, 14 May 2010

GOOD TEACHERS WILL ALWAYS BE CHERISHED


Did you ever have a teacher who was more than a mere employee doing a job? Did this person seem more like a caring parent or a dear friend than a hireling? In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I wrote about an immigrant from Hong Kong whose kindness in May of 1968 extended far beyond the requirements of his job.

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Fortunately, the adults planned some enjoyable activities to distract us. We went twice to the Pacific National Exhibition in May. Mr. Lao surprised us all by taking us there one Saturday afternoon and he even paid for us to go on the rides. Though the weather was cloudy and threatening, we had the time of our lives.

I made an interesting discovery when I rode the roller coaster. Sitting in the car furthest back was where a person felt the most sensations of motion. "Hey Guys," I called to my classmates, "Let's all sit at the back." Each of us with sight guided our blind charges to the cars furthest from the front. "You're right," several classmates said. "This is more fun back here." I smiled and cherished the feeling of actually being praised by my peers.

I never heard of the giant slide before but I felt willing to try it. We climbed to the top up a long flight of steps and then an attendant handed each of us a stiff, brown, fibrous rug. I stared at mine until the man said, "Lay it down and sit on it." I did so and then pushed off as I observed others doing. The ride was exhilarating but brief. My disappointment at the shortness of the ride turned to joy when Mr. Lao said we could slide more than one time. The whole group slid down it again and again. The blind children enjoyed it the most because of the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling the bumps in the slide gave them.

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Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) contains many fascinating vignettes ranging from the poignant to the hilarious. As many fully-sighted people have never heard about what actually happened in these institutions, I detailed what occurred while I was there and how it effected me. More information about this book, as well as When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), is on the InScribe page.