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Blind Teacher Gives Students Lasting Insight

Students say they appreciate English teacher's dedication

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Marilyn Bland is an English teacher at North Garland High School where she is inspiring students not just because she has been blind for almost 40 years but also because of her volunteer work. (Published Thursday, May 24, 2012)

    A North Garland High School teacher is making a lasting impression on her senior English students.

    Marilyn Bland, who has been blind for almost 40 years, does not let anything stop her.

    "I do things because I want to achieve them the best way I can," she said.

    The South African mother had to relearn basic things such as reading and navigating.

    "It was hard," she said. "But, you know, you just have to apply yourself, and every day is a new beginning and so you take it day to do the best you can with what you have."

    For a decade, teaching has been a passion her students can't help but notice.

    "Her smile can like brighten anyone's day with, like, her bright pearly teeth," student Alex John said.

    Bland feels her way through her classroom but knows where everything is. She remembers what letters look like when she writes on the blackboard. When it comes to grading papers, she uses screen-reading software called JAWS that reads typed papers word for word and line by line for visually impaired people. But first she scans all the papers, one by one.

    Her students said they have come to admire and appreciate her extra hard work.

    "Even though she has a disability of she can't see, she really inspires us," John said.

    "She doesn't have her sight, yet she still teaches and strives and works really hard," student Daniela Peralta said.

    Bland said has already pictured her students in her heart.

    "I always imagine what somebody looks like, so don't ask me," she said, chuckling.

    Her lessons aren't just about English. Bland travels around the world helping blind people in Third World countries, and her students gain insight that lasts a lifetime.

    "She really teaches us how to be a better person, how to, like, care about others," John said.

    Bland is also a college professor, a published writer and poet. She will be traveling to northern Uganda in July to help blind people read.