To the Teacher Who Said I Wouldn't Amount to Anything Because of My Hearing Loss
To My Second Grade Math Teacher,
My mom and I will never forget you, and that’s not a good thing. You see, I was never a naturally gifted mathematician, and guess what? I never will be, nor do I really have a strong desire to be exceptional at math. My lack of math ability has nothing to do with my hearing loss. My hearing loss does not make me “dumb;” in fact, I’m probably even smarter because of it.
When I was in your class, I used my fingers to count for addition and subtraction. It worked for me and it got the answer right. I couldn’t do it your way, because my brain just didn’t think the same way you did. One day, you caught me using my fingers to add, and when the next parent-teacher conference came around, you told my mom I was “dumb” and I’d never go anywhere in life because I couldn’t hear. Fortunately, I wasn’t in the room and I wouldn’t have understood the situation at the time.
Well, guess what? That little second grader who was the worst in the class in math started taking algebra in sixth grade, algebra II by ninth grade, honors geometry sophomore year, honors pre-calculus junior year, and calculus senior year. I’ve also taken all the mathematics I need to graduate from college. Not only did I graduate high school with highest honors, I also finished with an A average in every subject, including math!
I am thankful to be done with formal math classes from here on out, but it is the subject that has helped me grow as a person the most due to all the adversity surrounding it.
I did it. You didn’t think I could do it, but I did. I can only hope this has dispelled any notion that I am “lesser” than my classmates because of my hearing loss. Never judge the outside appearance of a person — because their hard work and indomitable spirit may surprise you!
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Thinkstock image by Digital Vision.