Thursday, March 17, 2016

I See the Light

For years my vision failed me little by little. It wasn't really that bad, but when it got to the point where I didn't recognize colleagues and students walking down the hall, it became problematic.

"Why didn't you say hello to me, Mister?"

"What's wrong with that guy. He thinks he's too good for us."

Sometimes, I'd greet people with the wrong name. I've learned the hard way that people tend to kind of hate that. So I decided I would cal the UFT, get my voucher, and go get the eyeglass benefit I'd heard so much about. There was really no choice other than that or continue to offend everyone I see every day.

The optometrist got me all hooked up. He said I had issues with distance, and that while I could probably drive without glasses, they would solve my problem of recognizing faces. And he was right! I could see faces in great detail. It turned out a whole lot of my students were not as fuzzy as I'd previously believed. It was amazing!

But then I started to have issues. Students would bring me notes and I couldn't read them. I'd open a book and try to teach from it but all the letters became blurry all of a sudden. It was embarrassing. Now I don't like to be boastful, but I happen to be a high school graduate and I've been reading at least since ninth grade. But you wouldn't know it to look at me. So I started taking off the glasses and the people I failed to recognize started getting mad at me again.

It was really a question of values. I mean, here I was, an English teacher who couldn't read. How was that gonna look? What would Charlottle Danielson have to say about that? On the other hand, if you're a chapter leader people get pretty pissed off at you when you can't tell who it is they are. The truth is all people look pretty much the same when they're fuzzy. I was able to tell men and women apart with pretty fair accuracy, but that didn't seem high enough a standard.

Now at that time I had a friend who knew everything, or at least pretended to. I explained my issue and he directed me to dispense with the free optometrist visit from UFT and to see an ophthalmologist. I went to the one I'd been taking my daughter to, because she had an office full of wind-up toys that were very cool. I paid a GHI copay and she stuck these drops in my eyes, which I suppose make for a more accurate reading. I certainly hope they did, because when I left her office I was so sensitive to light that it's a wonder I managed to drive home in one piece. In fact I stopped at a diner even though I wasn't really hungry because I was afraid to stay on the road.

The opthamologist hooked me up with progressive lenses, and told me to buy them at Costco. She said the Costco lab did an amazing job for her patients and that all the chain glasses stores overcharged. I've found that to be true, actually, in speaking with my colleagues. Some of them had paid double what I did, for single vision lenses, and mine actually turn into sunglasses when I'm outside. This very much impressed and confused my students before I was kicked out of the trailers.

So I'm gonna suggest to you, my brother and sister teachers, that you visit an ophthalmologist, even if there's a co-pay, and that you shop at union-friendly Costco for glasses. It's really worked for me. Not only can I see faces from far away, but I can also read. I assure you the reading thing is something administrators value in an English teacher.
blog comments powered by Disqus