Will districts hire and work with disabled teachers?

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by Precognition!, Jul 29, 2003.

  1. Jul 29, 2003

    Greetings.

    I'm contemplating whether or not I want to enter the education profession in Ohio via a nontraditional route as described on this page at the Ohio Department of Education.

    I have a bachelor's degree in computer science and am prepared to complete the additional coursework in education. There might be a potential problem, however. I have a moderate vision deficiency (20/100 vision in both eyes) and am also a high-functioning autistic.

    I'm curious about forum-dwellers' experiences with their own districts. Are administrators apt to hire the disabled? If so, are they given the additional tools needed to achieve excellence in the profession, or are they treated as second-class citizens?

    I figure I would obtain a long-term substitute teaching license and see if the profession is a match for me beforehand, but the threat of disability discrimination still rears its ugly head. What do you think?
     
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  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Jul 29, 2003

    I almost hesitate to reply and am not replying under my regular username because of possible repercussions- Anyway here goes:
    Disabled under the ADA fits many disabilities/challenges and while someone with disabilities may qualify to be a teacher it does not mean that they should be. I can see someone in a wheelchair lets say being highly effective as a teacher considering that they have the qualifications, connect with students, etc. The students could also have the benefit of learning important life lessons of empathy and compassion. A 'disability' like high functioning autistic presents some issues that may make being an effective teacher very diificult, if not near impossible. Being very intelligent does not mean you will be a good teacher. There are people in the teaching profession who know a lot about their subject matter but do not connect with students. Connecting is key to facilitating learning. Social issues such as collaborating with other teachers, effectively communicating with parents, connecting with students make GREAT teachers. I recommend examining WHY you think you want to teach- is it because you love your subject matter or becasue you want to make a difference in kids' lives? Is this an 'I can do this---' situation or an 'I am called to do this---' situation? You could try subbing or taking a few ed classes, visiting classrooms to see if this is truly for you. The profession has plenty of mediocre teachers- Please make sure you are doing this for the right reasons !!!
     
  4. Aug 3, 2003

    Hello, "Unregistered". There's no need to disguise yourself on my account. I won't flame you.

    The reason I began exploring this possibility is that I asked myself "what sort of change is the execution of my current professional duties effecting on the world, other than an increase in my personal utility?". The only answer I could come up with is "increasing corporate profits". That's not a satisfactory answer to me.

    As for "I can do this" versus "I am called to do this", the distinction between the two isn't considered in my value system. The very nature of the phrase "'called' to do this" assumes that some extrenal force is pointing me toward a specific destination regardless of pragmatic concerns and my own personal value judgements. Religious types often use that very phrase to describe a supernatural entity ("God") "calling" them to the priesthood. I hope you can understand why that's unsettling.

    My value judgement is that teaching would increase both my personal utility (i.e. satisfaction, reasonable financial security) and the utility of society as a whole by using my expertise in a way that increases the utility of real people in a way that more closely matches my ideals, rather than raising a company's bottom line.

    The pragmatic concerns are the chief reason why I'm asking for outside assistance in making a decision. I was hoping to hear from some visually handicapped and/or autistic spectrum teachers that addressed real-world difficulties I might face if I was to choose to teach. I worry that my inability to see children far away from me, my eccentric behavior, or "emotion blindness" (i.e. inability to analyze social cues, especially nonverbal communication) will disrupt students' learning. Firsthand accounts would help me better understand to what degree that would be true.

    So, if any of you folks know anyone that could help with this, I would be grateful.
     
  5. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Aug 3, 2003

    Much of teaching calls on the teacher to be able to 'read emotions'- I'm not sure what grade you're considering, but early childhood and elementary ed requires that you consider a student's emotions, motivations, needs other than pure pragmatics allows. Even in HS a little insight, empathy, and compassion is needed! Teaching for most of us here is a PASSION, so please excuse us if we use terms such as 'called to do this' for many of us truly do feel that way. I respect your discomfort with this and commend you for seeking advice before leaping into this decision...
     
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Aug 15, 2003

    i have a disability and i also will be teaching

    hello,
    I have read about this person who have a high functioning aaustism and a vision problem. I have two learning disabilities... adhd and non-verbal lerarning, and i am also studying to be a teacher. I have had MANY countless people tell me that I cannot do it I do not have what it takes kind thing.
    Right now though I am a head teacher in a preschool for the summer, and i am finishing up my bacholors degeree soon. I may be 21 and still in school, but I so do not care.
    Where i am i have a good relationships with the kids in my group, and i have a good connection line within parents.
    It is a LOT of work for me, but I WANT to help children. I want to see all schildren be the best that they can be, and make a difference in their lives.
    I wish you lots of luck, and if you do decide that teaching is right for you GO FOR IT...... it may take time, but when you have your classrrom it will be worth it.
     
  7. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2003

    all other fields

    I think the most psychotic people are psychologists- who better to understand the mind? There are 'impaired or disabled' in all careers, some more obvious then others and only if it is saftey concern then should someone be 'limited' to their passions and pursuing thier interest. As for socially- the smartest people i know have difficulty socializing amongst people who are not able to 'understand'. I dont think ANYONE should be prejudged by their 'problems' and we all identify with someone in our lives as role models. Maybe Precognition! can be such a role model for other children.

    I am not impaired or disabled
    (other then problems of :eek:verweight,apnea,vision, flatuant,chem.embalanced,high achiever and obsessive behaviors)
    These problems have all been addressed, i have learned to compensate or medicate certain problems. I may use tools to assist me on a daily basis like a CPAP machine to sleep with, glasses to wear from moment of wake up to moment of bed time. I am never going to make judgment on someones ability based on their appearance.

    If Precognition! has no problems that would impair the safety of the children AND if she/he is adult enough to control or to have tools to adapt to the problems she/he has then there is nothing keeping such persons from being a teacher.
     
  8. emmy

    emmy Guest

    Sep 4, 2003

    I have a disability, still working

    I was diagnosed with MS a few months ago and when it came time for contract renewal I figrued I was out the door. Needless to say I go a contract and the postion I requested.
     
  9. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Sep 4, 2003

    Mabye Im wrong, but aren't their laws protecting people with disabilites from being hired or fired soley because of their difference?
     
  10. daybreakoh

    daybreakoh Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2006

    Can they ask that?

    How about this one? I was offered a job as a long-term sub in what was for me a dream job. Large, urban school district, usual fingerprinting clearance and a medical questionnaire to be filled out and submitted to District Doctor before I can start the job-- one question was whether or not I had received treatment in the past 4 years for anything related to my physical, mental, or emotional health (with warnings about deception, etc. resulting in denial of job or termination). Well, I have been treated for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) for the past 12 years and must see a psychiatrist who monitors my medication every 6 months. So, I put that down--even though I think it is none of their business and in fact may even be illegal for them to ask. But they really have you in a catch-22 saying being dishonest about it would go against you. I'm all for honesty, but it doesn't seem to count in one's favor and instead gets used against you. I was supposed to have been notified within 1-2 days after submitting the medical questionaire as to my start date. It has now been 4 days and I'm very concerned that this is holding up my job and may cause them to decide not to hire me. Has anyone had any experience with this or is there any wisdom out there on the subject?
     
  11. adria

    adria Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2006

    A few months ago I watched Oprah and she aired a teacher that was disable. Maybe you would like to take a look at it....I would think of it as inspiring. As a result of watching Oprah, I look beyond the disability.

    take care
     
  12. daybreakoh

    daybreakoh Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2006

    Yes, I would do the same-especially my ADD has been a benefit to me in working with students that have it. But you know, I think school districts are about screening out potential "crazies" and, unfortunately, ADD is considered a "psychiatric" condition. I'm not sure the districts would be as benevolent as you and I.
     
  13. els516

    els516 New Member

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    Oct 5, 2006

    i'm enlightened at your reply...i'm an amputee with a bachelor of arts in communications. i've taken almost 30 masteral units in special education. i'm not so participative in class because i'm still conscious but i know i can be effective with kids. i tutor my own kids and my friends' kids and i know i'm good. but now i'm having second thoughts and i'm truly going to think it over...i'm still confused....am not very keen on participating in class discussions...that's all.
     
  14. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    Oct 5, 2006

    When I was in college, there was another student who was Dyslexic. When ever he taught lessons in the classroom, his spelling and writing was terrible. I don't feel that he should get a job teaching young kids to spell and write the correct way. He did end up getting a job in middle school teaching moderate/servere special ed.

    I would just be up front about it, and they can't turn you away just because of your disability. I would definately sub first, so you can get your feet wet.
     
  15. Mrs E.

    Mrs E. Rookie

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    Oct 6, 2006

    The law requires that "reasonable accommodations" be made to meet the needs of the disabled. Guess who gets to decide what defines "reasonable"

    That said, if you can picture yourself being happy doing anything but teaching, please do the yourself a favor and do something else. Thats what I usually mean when I talk about "called to teaching"

    Now to the question, it depends on the district on how administrators will look at you. Good administrators will see the opportunity to more fully develop students sense of community.
     
  16. mccwen

    mccwen Comrade

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    Oct 6, 2006

    In my district I personally know of three teachers who have different physical diablities who are teaching in a regular- education class. One kindergarten teacher who wears a hearing aid is about 50% deaf in both ears (that's a guess- I don't know for sure.) She speaks with the "deaf voice" if you know what I mean but she's been teaching for at least 15 years. Another teacher teaches 1 st grade and has one leg. She uses crutches and gets around very well. She's done several of my training sessions and seems to be a great teacher. I also know another k teacher who is permanently on crutches too. I don't know why but he always has them.
     
  17. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Oct 6, 2006

    That last post is inspiring. It's nice to hear about the ability and not focus on the disablilty. You got certified so you are intelligent and that is what matters.

    People will always respond in different ways. If a person with a disability can exude a positive attitude that will affect how he or she is treated. Sooner or later, you see the person and not the disablity.
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    There are laws to protect the disabled, but that doesn't mean people follow them unfortunately. It's not what a person CAN do but how people percieve them (either realistically or stereotypically). This will be true no matter what field you choose unless you choose to work for a place that works with autistic children then they will tend to understand (though it again to depends on who does the hiring). I said all this negativity, but I know it is not always true (thank goodness). If you have confidence in yourself and you project that, that goes a LONG way in erasing preconceptions.

    As far as knowing if teaching is for you, that is a question many people ask themselves and feel unsure of before going into the field. Not everybody is gifted with knowing. Many of us need to experience it to reassure ourselves either way. So do take some time and sub, do aide work, volunteer or whatever you can do to get experience. It will help you more than anything else to figure out what you CAN do and whether you like the job. Also remember that if you are highly functioning, chances are a whole heck of a lot of that comes from your ability to find coping strategies throughout your life. That will stay with you and you will continue to find the stregth and tools necessary to do what you want to accomplish.
     
  19. Dorway_&TRUTRUT

    Dorway_&TRUTRUT New Member

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    Nov 18, 2006

    MS and still work!

    I was diagnosed in 01/08.
    Thank God, my Biochem professor directed me to DORway.com and wnho.net.
    I started my detox and REMAIN new lesion, exacerbation free.

    Had $1500 worth of tests done at Immunoscience Center in Bev. Hills. Dr. Vajdani said that my results indicate that I have a WHEAT, WHEY, GLUTEN, DAIRY sensitivity and that I MUST avoid mercury, aluminum, fluoride, MSG, aspartame and Natural Flavors!

    My former largest cerebellar lesion has been FULLY re-myelinated for the last 4 yrs annual brain scans.

    I AM sensitive to chemicals like fluoride, bleach and the excitotoxins.
    If I am in an accident, it takes FOREVER to heal, but I heal.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    BTW, I'm bipolar. That's a pychiatric condition too.
     
  21. syd622

    syd622 Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2006

    Precognition,

    I have always been contentious regarding my disability; even though it is not visually discernable, it is definitely present. I have a metabolic disorder that greatly affects my body's ability to withstand infection, and I experience severe kidney and adrenaline function problems. For me, honesty and disclosure were the answer for me being employed as an educator. During my interview I made certain that the Principal knew that I had a disability, and that I would need to follow strict medication regimens while at work. Also, I made him aware of the fact that working with students would mean coming into contact with pathogens. If I became ill I, would definitely need 1-3 days off to recover. Thus far, the administrative staff and my co-workers have been extremely supportive. I love being a special education teacher and look forward to many years in the classroom. Too often focus is placed on disability; just like I tell my students "throw away the dis and you're left with ability". Hyper-examination of one's disability is not the answer; if you want to teach, do it. We are aware of our limitations...but we are capable of adapting. I wish you much success in the classroom GL : )
     
  22. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2006

    The vast majority of physical impairments/ailments/disabilities can be overlooked/ignored/even embraced, in terms of a person becoming a teacher. (Does anyone know any blind teachers?)

    Disabilities that affect judgement to the degree that a person can't make sound decisions...that's different. And I'm not talking about folks who are bipolar, clinically depressed, social phobic, that sort of thing. Those folks can be/are great teachers. No, I'm talking about folks who are, say, schizophrenic. Well, shoot...anyone know any schizophrenic teachers?

    The dyslexia situation (described above) is an interesting one. I would agree that there may be some problems with teaching spelling, but if the dyxlexic guy is great with kids and can be an asset in the classroom...heck, that's why God made dictionaries.
     
  23. syd622

    syd622 Rookie

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    Dec 6, 2006

    Mr. M,

    In answer to your question, 'yes', I have heard of a teacher who is legally blind and successful in the classroom. She even teaches at an elementary school. She arrives each day with her guide dog, and she has a teaching assistant in each of her classes for extra support. This particular educator has been a teacher for over fifteen years, and she has been selected by her district on various occassions as a "Spolight Educator" (district honor akin to teacher of the year).

    Hope this helps : )
     

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