Memories of Awe Episode 12

Liz was running late for her interview with Professor McKown. She had overslept and had to rush to meet with him. As a result, she didn’t have a theme for today’s interview.

LJ: Sorry for being late. I don’t have a particular subject for today’s interview so I’ll just let you share whatever you want. And one other thing, I’ve forgot my glasses. Could I record this on my phone?

KMcK:  That reminds me of a student who was also having a bad day. She was sobbing loudly outside my office. I asked her if she would like to talk. It took some time, but she was finally able to quit her crying. I’ll never forget what she said to me.

LJ: What was it?

KMcK: This is word for word. It’s a part of my memory. “I broke my glasses, and I couldn’t hear a word spoken in class today.”

LJ: What? That doesn’t make sense.

KMcK:  That’s what I thought. But then it dawned on me, she is hearing impaired and read lips.

LJBut she could hear you?

KMcK:  You may find this hard to believe, but we used to assign seats. She was assigned a seat farther back in the class where she couldn’t see the teacher’s lips.

LJBut couldn’t she have asked for an accommodation?

KMcK:  There was no such thing in those days. Students with hearing issues today have lots of ways they can be assisted, but that wasn’t available in her time.

LJ: So what did you do to help her?

KMcK: I’ve mentioned in previous interviews how I try to develop students who realize that education is more than just what happens in the classroom. It’s how they live their lives. It didn’t take much for me to find a student who would share their notes with Jacie. In fact, they became friends.

LJ: That actually seems like a better arrangement than the accommodations we have today.

KMcK: Thanks for bringing that up. I’ve began to think we are robbing people of the opportunity to help others by institutionalizing support systems. Would this memory of awe be in my mind if Jacie were in my class today? I don’t think so.

LJ: Are you saying that we shouldn’t be making accommodations?

KMcK: Not at all. Unfortunately, we live in a society today that cares little about supporting others. You can get elected by dehumanizing others. Because of that we are losing the opportunity to experience awe from moral beauty. I have another similar story to share with you the next time we meet.

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“The thing about hearing loss is that no one can see it. Most people are so important; they just assume that the person with hearing loss is being rude, or slow-witted.” – Marion Ross (actress)

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