The Visually Impaired Child
Teachers Are 100% Full Time Workers and Even More
by Dave Melanson
Many people do not see the number of hours that teachers work outside of the classroom. By this I mean the usual hours of correcting of assignments, lesson plans, and let us not forget those teachers who volunteer their time to be actively involved in extra curricular activities after school. Teachers here in the Province of Quebec have been going through a difficult time for the past several months. A few weeks ago Premier Bernard Laundry and Education Minister Francois Legault had the nerve to call teachers "part time workers" and went further to say that they only worked 90% of the time. They then threatened to roll back the salaries of new teachers. This is a move that if implemented would undoubtedly discourage individuals who had been thinking about having a career in teaching and would eventually lead to a teaching shortage here in Quebec.
As a consultant who works with teachers on a regular basis I often see the extra hours and dedication that many teachers give. This is not often talked about as many people have the misconception that a teacher's day ends when the school bell for dismissal rings at the end of the day. Not so. On November 15th I attended Teachers' Convention here in Montreal and had my usual exhibit table of glasses which simiulate visual
impairments. At 4:30 PM that afternoon I left my exhibit table to join the teachers in a protest walk through the streets of Montreal. I was given a picket sign and as I am visually impaired, one of the Union Reps, Carole Champaighne from a school in Montreal North walked beside me to ensure that I turned left or right when the crowd proceeded in different directions. The following day Friday, November 16th, I gave my workshop at Convention. I had made a little sign which I perched on the overhead projector in the lecture hall. It read, "Teachers must be treated with respect and dignity", and on the other side "Teachers are 100% full time workers." This sign stayed at my exhibit table all day and went with me to my workshop in solidarity with the teaching community.
Since this is the Holiday Season and a time for sharing and bliss, I wanted to take this opportunity to say to the many teachers who will read this that you are most certainly "full time workers" and even more. You have a very honourable responsibility to educate and form the minds and character of the children who will be the leaders of tomorrow. Stop and think for a moment how valuable and important that responsibility is. Without teachers our society would not have experienced the benefits of the many brilliant minds who have invented such wonderful things. Extend that to the many who have contributed to medical science, all of whom needed teachers in their young lives to learn and to advance.
I want to wish all here on Teachers.Net the best of Season's Greetings whatever your faith may be. If it were not for the teaching community, I would not be working right now in a field I so dearly love. Private industry did not want to hire me but the teachers have valued the knowledge I have to offer and have allowed me to grow and contribute to our society. I have overcome many obstacles as a visually impaired person and each success encourages me to go on and to realize that anything is possible to achieve if you believe in yourself. Thank you to Teachers Net for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this site regularly I look forward to an exciting new year working with the wonderful people here at Teachers.Net.
Happy Holidays everyone
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you have difficulty reaching Dave directly, contact Kathleen Carpenter email@example.com 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.
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