Blogs About Reading
Sound It Out
Dr. Joanne Meier
Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.
My Mom was a teacher. That's her standing on the left in the picture. That picture, one of my personal favorites, was taken at St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo, NY where she started her teaching career.
My Mom spent her life teaching kids with hearing impairments. She started in Buffalo and then moved to an elementary school in Fairfax County. At that time, the school had a very young and (then) progressive aural language program. She believed passionately that deaf ed teachers needed to work very closely with families, that the work needed to begin in infancy, include strong preschool, and continue through the years.
After teaching for many years, my Mom became the principal of that very same school. As principal, she continued the work of educating kids with hearing impairments and their families. She was a strong advocate for special education and would "go to the mat" for any one of her students. She made lifelong friends with teachers, parents, and students who shared her passion.
Some of my Mom's former students still send Christmas cards. A few years ago I reunited with Kelly, a former student of my Mom's that I've known since she was four. Kelly, who has moderate to severe hearing loss, walked into my office at UVA on her first day of graduate school. Kelly was a new student entering the Speech Language Program in Audiology. On her graduation day two years later, she thanked my Mom, acknowledging my Mom's contribution to her own success. It's a thank you card we still have.
This teacher appreciation week, I'm thanking each of you. Thank you for your passion and your tenacity. Thank you for sticking it out through bad budget cycles, tough classes and noisy lines. Thank you for the big and small things you do for the kids in your class. You make a difference every day.