chat center

Latest Posts Full Chatboard Submit Post

Current Issue » Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 4

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us, "Leaders lead and they lead by caring enough about the success of their teachers that they will roll up their sleeves and model instructional leadership."...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
Visual Impairments by Dave Melanson
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Reflecting Upon Read Across America
Earth Day Compilation
The World in Lights
Take a Seat at the Bottom of the Class
Starting Children on Science
Tips for teachers being bullied!
Mr. Choose-A-Chart
Teaching Perseverance Through Adversity-A History Lesson
It's An Early Spring!
Memo to Staff: Our Computer System Crashed-We Have No 'Backups'-You're Not Getting Paid for a Month!
Keep Your Online Community Alive!
Curricular Science the 'Curry' way!
Geography Awareness
Principal of the Year Ray Mellberg
eBook Technology
Respect Means...
Creative Uses for Digital Cameras in the Classroom
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 4)
Young Lawyers Ementoring Magnet Students
The Welcome Mat of a High School On-Line Community
Plato Lives...
The Asphalt Classroom
26 Teaching Tips for the Dog Days
Using Storytelling in the Classroom
Recapturing the Courage to Teach
To Leave No Child Behind
If you say you CAN'T, it means you WON'T
Something Nice a Student Did Yesterday...
When Your Child Comes Home Messy
Praise vs. Encouragement
People Don't Play...
Apple Seeds
Special Days This Month
Poem - Song of a Second April
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Culprit Management
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    "Why Do We Have Night" from the Lesson Bank
    Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    The School Web Page: A Vehicle for Innovation
    Eighth Emerson Prizes Awarded in Boston
    Student Nanoexperiments Will Help Future Astronauts on Mars
    The 11th Annual National Institute for Early Childhood Professional
    International Conference on Computers in Education
    SESSIONS ANNOUNCED: Congress in the Classroom 2002
    Teacher Network United States Mint
    DEADLINE: Civic Education Grants
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    Special Ed Chatboard...
    Teachers.Net has two resources dedicated exclusively to Special Ed teachers - the Special Ed Chatboard, and the Special Ed Mailring. Join a community of Special Ed teachers and mentors from around the world, and help make your start in teaching effortless and painless! The Teachers.Net community specializes in teacher peer support, bookmark the Special Ed Chatboard and join the Special Ed Mailring and start your career off on the right foot.
    ASL/Sign Mailring...
    Join the Teachers.Net ASL/Sign Language Mailring! The ASL/Sign Mailring is part of the Teachers.Net Language Center, and provides teachers of mainstream as well as special needs students a place to discuss using and teaching American Sign Language and other sign languages in the classroom. Subscribe today at the Teachers.Net Mailring Center.
    Visual Impairments
    by Dave Melanson
    The Concerns and Fears Related to Losing One's Eyesight
    One of the hardest things for an individual who has been accustomed to 20/20 vision is coming to terms with a decline in eyesight. It is a very emotional and stressful thing and in many cases all kinds of fears and concerns develop. One thing I know from experience is that the worst thing anyone can do during this emotional period is to completely withdraw and not admit their fears and concerns.

    If you know someone who is loosing their eyesight, or if it is happening to you, please keep in mind that you are not alone. There are many individuals and groups out there who can be of great support to you. This is a time when you most need friends and need to express yourself without feeling ashamed of that need.

    As someone who has been visually impaired all of my life, I have never known what it is like to have 20/20 vision and so for me, having under 10% in my left eye and no vision in the right eye is perfectly normal. I have always accepted this from day one as I have never known anything different.

    However, I do know of many people who begin to loose their eyesight later in life and I have to say that, sadly, most of them do withdraw and do not wish to talk openly about it. It has made me feel sad when this happens as I know that, as a good friend who is sight impaired myself, I can be supportive to them and help them through these difficult times.

    One of the things you may be concerned about if your are losing your eyesight is, "Will I be able to continue to teach?" Technically speaking, I believe that in most cases the answer to that is yes, providing that you are in a school district that is flexible and you have a reasonable principal.

    There are many adaptations that can be made which would enable you to continue to teach. However, it may be more difficult to teach a lower grade like Kindergarten, grades one and two if one is losing their eyesight. But I do know for example of a lady here in Montreal who teaches 3rd grade and has Macular Degeneration. She uses a closed circuit television which consists of a tv screen with a built in camera which faces down to a tray. A print document is placed on the tray and the user is able to focus the camera to make the test viewable on the screen. There are several positives to this situation. She has been able to successfully perform her job despite her slowly failing eyesight and at the same time her 3rd graders are learning that it is possible to function normally in society if one has a challenge. Her 3rd graders learn all about her closed circuit television and how she uses it to correct their work and read their assignments.

    Always keep in mind that if you are losing your eyesight, never withdraw from having friends or be in denial. This is a time when you most need your friends to care about you and be there for you. You will find that despite the fact that it is worrying to you or that there may be many questions unanswered, this difficult period will go much easier for you with friends around you who care and support you and are there to listen to you.

    I feel very fortunate that I have been able to carve an employment situation for myself on a contract basis, giving workshops and inservice training to elementary teachers on accommodating sight impaired and blind children in the regular classroom environment. Working with teachers has been the most rewarding thing, and these workshops I give combined with writing my book, "Integration A Rewarding Experience" has really enriched my life.

    The most important thing to remember is to always try to stay positive even in those really difficult early stages of losing one's eyesight. It is important to keep active, join social groups, be ready to accept support from your friends. It is also important to try to maintain a close positive relationship with your school administrators and your Union. They are the people who can be of most help to you in terms of ensuring that you can keep your teaching position or, if need be, help you protect your pension should you retire early.

    There are always inspirations and individuals who can have a positive influence to you. Never be afraid to use their experience and advice. The end result is that you will be still living a productive useful life and smiling every day.

    David Melanson, frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette, has just self-published Integration: A Rewarding Experience, a manual for educators on the topic of working with sight-impaired students. As a sight-impaired person whose parents persisted in having their son placed in "regular" (public school) classrooms, David's experiences, perspective, and advice are particularly interesting and helpful. The manual is interesting and worthy of reading even if one does not currently have a sight-impaired student in class.

    The cost in the U.S. is $10 plus $2 .45 for postage. In Canada: $15 Canadian plus $1 .45 postage. Money orders are preferred. To order the manual, contact Mr. Melanson by e-mail: Should you have difficulty reaching Dave directly, contact Kathleen Carpenter with "Melanson Manual" in the subject line.

    To access monthly chats on the topic of working with sight-impaired students, moderated by David Melanson, visit the Teachers.Net Archives.

    Sight Impaired Students, December 12, 2001
    Integration Of Visually Impaired And Blind Students Into The Regular Schools
    Accommodating the Visually Impaired Child
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, Sept. 21, 2000
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, December 6, 2000
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, February 15, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, May 7, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, July 19, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, August 6, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, October 23, 2001

    You may contact Dave Melanson by e-mail for information about consulting, sensitization training, and speaking services. Write to

    I have developed several audio tapes from previous seminars I have given on the topic of mainstreaming and integrating sight impaired children. I am willing to sell these tapes for $10 U.S. each. If there is any school district that is interested in purchasing a tape, please contact me:

    Postal Address:

      Dave Melanson
      702 Riverview Ave
      Verdun Quebec Canada H4H 2C1

    About Dave Melanson...
    Dave Melanson is located in Montreal Canada. He has five years experience presenting seminars and sensitization training to elementary schoolteachers on mainstreaming and integrating visually impaired and blind children into the regular classroom. During the past 2 years he has begun to branch outside of the Montreal area and is now covering other Canadian Provinces as well as the U.S. When giving seminars Dave brings with him a briefcase of 10 pairs of simulator glasses, each allowing the wearer to experience a different type of visual impairment.

    Dave will provide a tape of a previous seminar to any school district interested in booking a presentation in order to demonstrate the topics he covers with regard to integration and mainstreaming a sight impaired or blind child.

    You may contact Dave for more information by e-mail at or by telephone: 514 7683264. Dave can also be found in the Teachers.Net chatroom many evenings during the week, logged on as Dave/Montreal.