Several years ago I wrote an article for English Journal on disability and being a classroom teacher, “Doubly Vulnerable: The Paradox of Disability and Teaching.” (I’m not aware of a full text of the article freely accessible online, but I’m happy to share it, if you contact me.) Writing the article was itself an act of vulnerability, and I feel like I grew immensely from it. One of the really neat things about the article is that I continue to hear from others after having read it. Last week I heard from a teacher in Japan who had read and connected with the article. With his permission, I’m sharing his response below…
I’m emailing you after reading your article on English Journal titled “Doubly Vulnerable”. I’m very glad to know that a teacher who has a similar type of disability to mine is doing a great job in the US.
Thank you for sharing your experience and your honest feeling. I’m a graduate student of Naruto University of Education, Japan, researching teachers with disabilities in the master course. I’m going to teach English in a Senior high school from next April. I was engaged in another job for fourteen years and I’m not so young, but I’ll be a novice-teacher. Even though I have little teaching experience, but during the teaching practice, I found some students especially students who were perceived “difficult” were interested in my right hand. At that time, I felt like my right hand is a passport to get into their heart through the mental barrier which teenagers likely to have.
I am happy if we could share our experience as teachers with disability. You can find some of my video clips on youtube in which you may find how my right hand is. What I’m playing in the video is a Chinese musical instrument called erhu, which I learned in Beijing 18 years ago.