Stories from the Field
Edited By David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri
2. To My Students, with Gratitude: A Retrospective Journey of Teaching [Special Education]
DEBORAH J. GALLAGHER
Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a oneway street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed.
I’m not sure I believe in fate or destiny. More likely, these terms simply lend a sense of mystery and enchantment to our retrospective narratives. Still, when I think back on some of my most lasting and vivid school memories, I can almost believe that something like an inevitability was at work in the way that disability came to shape my life as an educator and academic. My earliest memories center on the three disappearing children of my childhood school days.
First, there was Rosemary. The first day she came to our second-grade classroom, she was efficiently escorted in by our teacher, Mrs. Rowan (all names are pseudonyms) and promptly deposited in a desk in the very back of the room. “Class, this is Rosemary,” our teacher announced. We all looked to the desk behind us where Rosemary sat with an expression of placid compliance, revealing little of the apprehension she no doubt felt. The first thing I noticed, and I’m sure everyone else noticed as well, were the bulky hearing aids she wore. It was the mid-1960s, and hearing aids looked nothing like the nearly invisible technological marvels of our modern age. Yet, Mrs. Rowan said nothing about the conspicuous transistor...
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