Tag Archives: teacher

Arms as big as a tree trunk

The other night Abby and I went to Acoustic Jam put on by WAMZ. This had 6 different singers at it, and I loved the format. They had 3 bands up at a time and they each played a song, and joked with one another. I really loved Mattie and Tae, Travis Denning, and David Lee Merfie. The concert was at a place I’d never been to called the Mercury ball room. According to the tickets there was no seating. Abby said they will find us a place to sit, because sighted folks are nervous about us standing. I said I don’t know, but sure enough we sat. I am not complaining we were out of the way and it was nice not to have to worry.

When we got to the venue this security guy came out and took us to a bench inside. I grabbed his arm and it was amazingly huge. I mean I couldn’t put my hand around his arm. My brother and dad have big arms, but god this guys arm well I’m going on and on like a school girl would. When your blind pretty much the only image you have of people is from feeling yourself and the handful of others along the way. I went home and pumped some iron I want Abby to be amazed by my arms lol. Whenever I hear Stern or guys gush about women part of me goes Christ haven’t you seen it all by now, but the part of being blind that is sad is truthfully everyone is different and we miss so much of that. It’s probably a gift and a curse all at the same time.

We had to leave a bit early since it was a work night. We couldn’t get anyone’s attention because it was loud in there. Abby grabbed my shoulder and I put my cane out in front of me. I hit several feet, but people move and were nice. I knew which way the door was, and moved towards it. A guy came up and said need an elbow? I said yes sir, and he navigated us the rest of the way outside. It was a great venue as are most in Louisville for assisting and not a bunch of confusion to help us get in and out.

I want to address a comment I heard recently, about blind folks being parents. I was on the bus talking about getting married to someone and I was asked if we wanted kids. I said no were older, and honestly I don’t have the energy for it. I love seeing others kids and loving on them, but it’s great when the house is quiet also. Someone recently mentioned you should want kids so they can take care of you. Dude I’m not 90 or in a nursing home. They then said yeah but they could make your life easier. Kids for the first 4 years first off do nothing but shit, cry, eat, and the other 1% do something cute. I actually got kind of offended with this comment. Help me? Make it easier? If Abby and I had a kid it’s going to be a kid. Does your 4 year old make your life easier somehow? Then it got worse the conversation that is. They said well once the kid grew up it could drive you around. Okay dip shit seriously that would be 16 years at the earliest and honestly I’ll have a flying car.in 20. I don’t even know where to start here. With Robin and Frasier I’d always hear some sighted folk go you take care of him don’t you? It always pissed me off. If I didn’t feed the dog, take it out to shit, or do the cleaning or maintaineding of the dog where it would it be? I feel like people think having a kid all most makes it a slave to the blind people which is just crazy! The blind parents I know take there kids to dance practices, soccer games, and anything else the kid wants to do. I don’t know where this kids taking care of a blind parent mentality comes from, but it needs to stop, because it‘ so absurd.

I am still not sure if I want to get another dog. The time away again, uncertainty if it will work any better than the last time, and the fact is I’m getting around fine. Yeah for sure when we go to Chicago I will miss what the dog provides,, but that’s random instances. I took a few Lyfts and Ubers this week, because I’ve been sick, and it’s been nice to get in not having to worry whether the driver is going to cancel or not which is sad, but if I’m being honest with myself it is nice. It’s been slower getting around, but I’m fine. I’ve encountered a blind person lately who is completely silly with her dog. She treats it as if the dog has choices which it shouldn’t have. She told her dog to sit 5 times before it did, and still gave it a treat. No corrections just acted as if giving a command five times before it listened was normal. These schools that don’t believe in corrections trouble me. Her dog was from a school out in California I think. Both Robin and Frasier if they didn’t sit when I said sit it was correction time.

I wanted to give a shout again to my teachers in the past. I was really lucky and had a teacher who taught me Braille, and knew the code herself. Ms. Tami taught me Braille when I was 4 years old. I remember her bringing over a rubber board and putting pins in it to represent the dots. I recently have witnessed and also told about kids who are graduating school knowing parts of the Braille code, but not all of it. I sort of have to be careful here, but I will speak my mind and be honest. I was somewhere doing a presentation on a product for work. A teacher asked me if rather than something being displayed in Braille could it be displayed in print? She said they struggle with reading braille. Wait what your a teacher of the visually impaired yet you yourself struggle with reading braille? How can you teach something to someone if you don’t know how to do it yourself? Tami taught me so much when I was really young on technology, and how to navigate things. The teacher then said she didn’t know how to use voiceover on the IPhone or IPad so she normally does something with it off then turns it on for the student. Again how do you teach this to a student? Tami Could use Win Vision or a scanning program she taught herself then me. If she couldn’t figure it out she called a company and learned. I’m sure there forcing kids on these teachers, but god you got to know the tools that can help these blind kids succeed. Maybe I need to get my masters and go help educate these kids I feel so bad for them, and the fact some of these teachers are earning a paycheck and don’t know braille or the technology these kids need.

I am really a technology guy, and I am trying to not continue to buy new things and just enjoy the ones I have. I had a HomePod but Apples wall garden started to annoy me. My Alexa can play MLB audio, Podcasts, call and message people, and more. My HomePod can only be used with Apple Music which I don’t want, and could Airplay. I just wanted a speaker that could do everything I wanted so that brought me to sell my HomePod on EBay and get a Sonos 1. I love it. I have Alexa built in, and plus I have Airplay 2 now. This speaker can do anything I need. Airplay put the Sonos over the top for me that was it’s one big drawback. If you have Android it still lacks Google cast, but maybe it will show up when the google assistant does later this year. If not sorry you have a inferior operating system. Hahaha just kidding. I’ve had it a week, and love the sound plus all the services that are integrated in.

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It’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. It seems strange to me, because I never would have thought I’d be living in Louisville, or have sold a show to MLB Network. I pictured myself living in New York because of transportation, and working in radio. I now can’t ever see myself living in New York I hate all the taxes. I had an opportunity to work with Elvis Duran a few years ago, but the job would have not paid me enough to live comfortably. I feel at times I’ve been scared about taking a risk, but I also know what it’s like to be jobless 63 percent of blind people also feel that pain. I don’t know if it is those stats, or the fear of possibly failing.

One incident I think about a lot, because it still bothers me is when a math teacher in high school deliberately discriminated against me and was allowed to do so. I will run through the events on what happened, and I graduated college passing an algebra class so you can decide on who was right. I had a teacher in High school named Dick Simons. His name was actually Richard, but I think the alternative fits him better. I would normally change the name, but he is probably dead now, so I don’t care. Anyway math was a harder subject for me, because it was pretty visual. Meaning basically the teacher would stand up draw the equations on the board and solve it. If you’re blind there really isn’t a lot of verbal going on or hands on for this. When I was really young I used an abacus for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Since I couldn’t see it on paper the abacus allowed me to see the numbers and be able to do things like carry over numbers. Anyway in high school I would use my computer and show my work and print it off on paper and turn it in. I did this for 17 weeks. Mr. Simons then called a meeting with my parents and principal to discuss me not graduating, because he couldn’t read my work. I had 3 girls from my class come in and verify that I knew how to do the work. In the meeting he called me a class clown which was untrue. If anything I slept a lot do to not being engaged because of the chalkboard. He then said the papers I turned in were unreadable.

My argument was you’ve had 17 weeks to tell me this, but yet you’ve said nothing. I was about to graduate and I felt he was trying to keep me held back. I had already gotten in to Ball State, and this was pretty crazy. My grandparents also attended the meeting, and basically what was decided is I’d have to take a summer course, but not at the school but through some catalog school. I took the class, and within the first week my teacher Kim said she felt I was done a disservice. For one of the questions we had to ask a biologist to make sure my work was correct. The book had way harder questions than we ever did in that dumb class. The thing that irritated me more the principal said that Mr. Simons would be fired or not be working there anymore and he flat out lied to me. The next year he was still working no penalty or anything.

I called the National Federation for the Blind, and spoke to a lawyer and was advised they didn’t want to get involved. I decided that day I’d never be part of an organization that wouldn’t help fight for what was right. They pick their battles I get that, but this was pretty clear for what it was. My school system got federal money for me going there which I never saw a dime of could it be they were going to miss that? I remember graduation walking across the stage where the principal all most didn’t shake my hand, and I just knew then what had happened.

This one thing really put a damper on what I thought of the school system. Fine let’s say Mr. Simons couldn’t read my work why not address it on the first assignment I turned in. Why did I have a B on my progress report for the first 4 weeks? When I graduated college, and got my first job it was like this is me getting even. I sympathize with people who get discriminated on, because it is a real thing. If I can help anyone in any way with my stories, or being in there corner just contact me and I’ll do what I can.

This was a low point in my life, because no one believed me. The only people that did were the girls who came to the meeting for me. My parents grounded me before the meeting, but afterword’s they took my side. I kept trying to tell them, but they didn’t want to hear me. Personally I couldn’t or can’t thank Tasha, Brandy and Kyra enough for what they did. I was thinking about the reunion and if I wanted to try and attend, and this event flashed in my mind. It’s been a while, so some details I forgot, but I just remember feeling with how they stacked the deck against me they never wanted me to graduate that year. They also took away my core40 diploma, but oh well that diploma doesn’t mean anything anymore anyway.