Today an instructor I’ve never met before walked into our shared office. We had the following exchange.
Colleague: Hello. You teach here?
Me: Good morning. Yes. I teach writing.
Colleague: And you’re blind?
Colleague: So…do you have any assistance in the classroom?
Me: No, not really.
Colleague: Wow, that’s just incredible! I really admire you!
Colleague: I really admire how you don’t let blindness get in your way.
Me: … *looks for the exit*
Despite the fact that the colleague is using words like “admire” and “incredible,” I won’t be pinning this exchange on my wall of treasured compliments. Perhaps I sound churlish or ungrateful, so let me explain why I, and other disabled people, don’t enjoy this kind of attention.
As a teacher of effective communication, I am bothered by this scenario. The colleague expresses…
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