Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – My Times with Ms. Waterman: Part Two

Ms. Waterman also worked closely with my mother. Many times, they would speak on the phone discussing class work or situations that arose during the school day. My mother knew that if something happened where we needed Ms. Waterman’s assistance, she could call her any time and she would help us. Many of these discussions focused on the goals that Ms. Waterman, my family, and the school would set for me each year. Some of the goals were directly related to my education and others were related to social aspects of school.

One year, the goal was to have me finish my assignments on time. I had a habit of talking with Ms. Waterman when she came to work with me. I would talk so much that we would run out of time before the work was complete. So, she would ask me to concentrate on getting the work done before I told stories. Sometimes, as a reward for finishing work early, she would bring a game for us to play together. The games she found were always both educational and fun.

In another year, the goal for me was to become more socially involved with other students in the class. So, Ms. Waterman decided to have the classroom teacher assign a buddy to assist me with some of the class assignments. This worked out well because it helped me to make some new friends at school.

When I got to high school, Ms. Waterman taught me how to work with a checking account and she taught me how to do banking. We also worked on preparing for college, taking the PSAT and SAT tests, as well as more independent living skills. Each year, before Christmas, Ms. Waterman would set some time aside after school to bring me shopping so that I could buy things for my family. My mother would give me money and we would work on a budget together so that there was enough money to buy a gift for each member of my family. Creating a budget for a real-life scenario tied in nicely to our discussions on personal finance and banking

Since my family and I had known Ms Waterman for so many years, we all became friends. She wasn’t just a teacher of the visually impaired from the state, she genuinely cared about me and all of the students on her case load. Many times, she fought for me and made sure that my best interests were known to the school. One of the best things she ever did for me was to assign a teacher to me for typing lessons. The teacher came to see me twice a week for two hours. Now that I’m teaching others how to use accessible technology, typing skills are something that have become a huge part of my life.

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