Jeri Hile: 2018 Braille Institute Teacher of the Year

Kansas City's Morning News
Friday, June 15th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

I usually get to my office and I clicked a materials and on the need for that day. And then I'm itinerant cited different schools and so begins another day for not just another teacher usually had to shine mission east because that's normally my first school you at this last year. And I'll be there for an algebra two class and then my own work with the student on other things that she needs. Now typically go to a middle school that I am Hav student Matt. Help him in algebra I do a lot with the math is kits to math is so visual. Then I worked with him directly after that none of the skills he needs degenerative algebra as visual think about it imagine you couldn't write out the equations imagine you couldn't physically see this you cancel things out and move them from one side of the equation the other. That's why this Gerri my name's Jerry Heil and I am teaches visually impaired in the Shawnee mission school district Jerry's not just eight teacher she's the teacher and you have just been named braille teacher of the year. Yes big deal how does one become braille teacher of the year. Well someone nominated me maybe could've been here I may yet committed here I think it was someone I worked at. Within parents have to write letters. And than I committee of the braille institute they decide. From the people who have been nominated who would win and I went this year we is surprised when you heard that she had been selected as a braille teacher of the year. The only thing that gets I think united is chic so humble kid but the first word that I think alike because Jerry because it's never about here. It's always about her unit. That's Jenny lore Jenny sun is middle school aged he's blind. And Jerry is his teacher. What you can braille massacre in her specialty and fair amount of extremely difficult to teach. Fishing spend a lot of time wanna unwind and teaching him multiple subjects in braille and one of them be rail mass. Then maybe we should credit Jerry's mom a little bit with the fact that Jerry is now braille teacher of the year. Along time ago as a teenager I my mom has taken just volunteering to Santa volunteer opportunity and A day camp in so park for buying kids. I did that for ten years every summer. And then coming out a way that got away fermented a lot of other things but then I sun and the newspaper for. So much to learn braille just as volunteer. I did that. Consequently got the Johnny Shawnee mission as a realist in the in the bank governor Masterson. But Jerry is a lot more than a teacher just listen to the words her students she used to describe her. Carrey eat this you can vote or fun. But she's ironing. And the best part of her job listing get a really makes her light up. It might surprise you that again knowing Jerry. Maybe it shouldn't when our person of the week continues next. Navigating line for that site is difficult. We are so aside oriented. And the fact that these students do it with such grace and their resilience and their optimistic. I mean it it gets me every day cheering Ohio is a teacher in the Shawnee mission school district not just a teacher the teacher of the visually impaired. Which goes far beyond the ABC's. I command trichet I feel like Jenny lowers son apology is one Jerry students because they spend so much one on one I'm together. Do they really get as Allah that relationship it's more like a magic machine Catholic each one of our kids. Can you talk about learning life skills. They even have to teach people to go out and be independent that's him a big part of why we teach infected calling and I started cooking club we did alpha point. And once a month we teach kids cooking skills because there's different skills involved when you can't see you know when you're gonna use knives and ovens and stow isn't that kind of thing. And it's a big part of what we teach because what we want at the end of the day is for our students to live a life that they wanna live and to be independent as they can. And Jenny says Gerri understands how hard that can be for the visually impaired to do things that you and I simply take for granted. If that such a challenge to think of them getting a job someday because the church sighted world out there and it's very difficult and the statistics it's so much against Yale. But she's fighting for your kid to be able to go to college and to get a job. You have to wonder about how this is sighted person like Jerry. Understand what it's like to be blind since she can better teach someone who really uses several years ago when I was doing my orientation and mobility we have to go through course were blindfolded. And then we use the cane and I got so I could really. Listen Intel was going on traffic patterns around me the minute took the blindfold off those on site again this site is very overriding sense. And it allows us to take in so much at once if you're blind. You have to take like the parts of the tree in my children argument he'll leave my excellent branch in the new benefits and into an image of a tree. Whereas we see the whole tree and then we see parts what do we get wrong with the line what do we do that insults and even though we don't mean to. And there's quite a few things I have a friend that's fine and when people talk to me consider her you know what does she want to eat I would just ask her. Talk louder as if because a minor might not be able to hear you. I have a friend who's blind who if he has to ask. Who just came in who's there IC key is annoyed wean you say to him can't you tell. Gaffes don't you know dude says yeah because they are not an expert and all the voices they never heard. Even with my kids but fairly sure they know my voice it probably here way too much balancing. You know this is an asylum has a gallon. They also don't like doing if you're talking to them and you walk away and don't tell them is and they will continue to talk and then it's like an idiot. What don't we know about them. Blind community if I call it that in Kansas City. I think it's bigger than people realize and I think like you say the resources the resources are available in schools people don't know about my job. I estimate of one point so they were assigned mission doesn't teach for Al. I yeah they do. We actually used here specifically. To that school restrictions and called extra willingly be I think Jerry. Because of the certification right. Best part of your job. North with the kids need in the end zone everything else kind of falls away and what's a moment like indicate gets. Oh that's that's series and I do it you know who got over some tough Alger a concept over and over and over and there's like like on it. That's just. Let's pretend. She acts so much and I am just such a blacking all of us and I I don't think that we. As parents. Treated giving him what Sherri given him like he couldn't be Julius. And I'm so grateful for.