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Monday
Apr152013

disability does not mean inability

Before my stroke in 2008, I had been teaching privately for ten years.  Around october of 2009, A school I had been teaching at for those ten years managed to scrape together three students for me, considering it was a bit late in the school year and tey had already basically replaced me after my stroke and weren't sure I'd ever be teaching again.  After the first lesson, one student's mother came in to meet me.  I could tell from her mannerism that she was uncomfortable with my handicap.  So it was no surprise when, the next day, I received a call from the band director saying  she needed to talk to me.  Sure enough, That student's mom pulled their kid out of lessons, despite repeated assurances from the director that they had full  confidence in me as a teacher, based on my track record with students over the years at their school.  Of the two remaining students, one turned out to be rather flaky and missed half their lessons.  The other turned out to be one of the best students I ever had.  He never missed a lesson, and was always prepared unless there was a very valid excuse.  That student stuck with me through his transition into high school and through his freshman year.  Sadly, after going through a hellish year of missing school for marching band and debate competitions and having some weeks where he was pulling all-nighters just to keep up on school work, he made the tough decision that band had to be sacrificed.  After losing this last student, it was next to impossible to get my foot in the door at any schools to start rebuilding my private teaching studio that I had lost with my stroke.  The two years that I taught my last student were without an instrument that I could play, yet I was still an effective teacher.  Many famous teachers in history taught without ever picking up their instruments in lessons (either because they chose not to teach by playing, or because of health reasons preventing them from doing so). My new mission, with my one-handed saxophone, is to spread the word that a disability does NOT  equal inability.

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