My old teachers used to claim that they have eyes in the back of their head. This teacher is testament that working eyes are nowhere near as important as passion, patience and a heart:
One of America’s best teachers is proof that adversity is no match for perseverance.
“Speak out, what are you thinking, what are you feeling? What’s in your head? What’s in your hearts?” says Kathy Nimmer standing in front of her class.
Most people have that one teacher they will never forget.
For many students at Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana, that teacher is Kathy Nimmer.
Nimmer is blind. When she started, more than two decades ago, it was such a struggle she almost gave up.
One expression she used was that chaos reigned.
“I’m remembering the day a student threw a book bag across the room and it shattered a window and it felt like it was shattering my heart,” she said.
One day, she had a revelation.
“It’s not about vision, it’s about connecting with students at the heart level,” she said. “That’s what it is. Because they won’t learn anything more from a sighted teacher if that sighted teacher doesn’t care about them as people.”
That philosophy helped her become one of four finalists for the 2015’s National Teacher of the Year award.
Nimmer, who began losing her sight in second grade, navigates the halls with the help of her guide dog.
Students volunteer with their names, instead of raising their hands.
“I have my classroom laid out so I’m never further than three desks away from the most distant student,” she said.
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