Anne Sullivan: Helen Keller´s Teacher


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Anne Sullivan: A Great Teacher

     “A teacher effects eternity'; (Henry B. Adams). A teacher does many things that affect her students. Even though at the time, the student does not understand the wisdom of the teachings. Anne Sullivan is one of those remarkable teachers.
     Helen Keller became deaf and blind at the age of eighteen months because of a fever. She lived many years not able to communicate with anyone. Helen was allowed, by her family, to do anything she wanted because they did not think she could know any better. One day, a woman by the name of Anne Sullivan came to live with the Keller family. Anne Sullivan, a twenty-one-year old, had spent most of her life in an institution with her brother. She had trouble seeing, but with the help of several surgeries, her eyesight was improved. Anne also learned sign language from a friend who was deaf. She had heard of Helen Keller and wanted to see if she could help her to communicate by teaching her sign language.
     When Anne met Helen, she knew that the job to teaching her would not be an easy one. She first had to gain Helen’s trust, which was a task that was almost impossible. When Anne saw how Helen lived, she knew that things were going to have to change and quickly.
     One day, Anne was teaching Helen table manners. Helen was used to just grabbing food off her family’s plates. When Helen reached Anne’s plate, she refused to give Helen the food. A struggle went on for hours, until finally Helen was able to fold

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her napkin, which was a big accomplishment for her. Although this upset Helen’s family at this time, Anne felt it was worth it because she was able to communicate with Helen.
     As time went by, the relationship with Helen’s parents and Anne got progressively worse. Mr. Keller believed that Anne’s fights with Helen were wrong and he threatened to fire her. Helen’s mother, on the other hand, thought that Helen was making progress and that Anne should stay. Anne’s one condition for staying would be that she could take Helen away from her home where she would have to be completely dependent on Anne for food and the other necessities of life. Reluctantly, the family said yes and let Anne have an abandoned house on the Keller property. They could come watch their daughter, but they could not actually have any contact with her.

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     The first word Helen learned was &#8220;d-o-l-l';. Anne signed the letters, while Helen felt her hand. Over the next few years, Helen prospered. Although there were times when Helen would be difficult, Anne would be even more persistent to teach Helen to communicate. After much hard work, Anne was successful in teaching her American Sign Language.
     Eventually, Helen went to a regular public school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Radcliff College. Helen was very grateful for Anne&#8217;s help. She showed this in the letters that she wrote to her teacher. Without Anne&#8217;s help, Helen would not have been the woman she became.
     A teacher definitely affects eternity. She passes down qualities to her students who in turn pass those qualities to other generations, and so on, and so forth. As students, we are forever indebted to our teachers. As future teachers, we are indebted to learn for the benefit of our future students.


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