Across China: Special education teacher lights up the dark
BEIJING, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- In a special classroom of acupuncture and massage at Beijing Union University, Zhang Lin uses her clear and loud voice as she guides students to practice step by step.
The students work in pairs, one as the "doctor" and the other as the "patient" while Zhang corrects their skills patiently and individually, holding their hands to find the exact pressing point.
Zhang, 47, is a special education teacher whose students have varying degrees of visual disability. Saturday marks Zhang's 27th Teachers' Day as teacher of visually-impaired children.
"When I started my career with these special kids, the biggest obstacle was Braille," Zhang said, adding that she taught herself Braille every night, but found it difficult as the raised dots of the books were the same color as the paper background. "After studying for a long time, I would start to cry."
In the process of teaching, Zhang found that systematic medical teaching materials in Braille were relatively scarce in the market, so she made full use of the Braille she had learned, to design and develop a series of barrier-free teaching materials together with other teachers.
Besides teaching materials, Zhang and her colleagues also developed auxiliary teaching tools.
"For example, we used convex lines and points to clearly mark meridians and acupoints on the human body model, which were equipped with the point reading function, so that students could identify the name and indications of acupoints with point reading pens," Zhang said.
Physical capacity is also a huge challenge for teachers of acupuncture and moxibustion. In the practical training class, the visually-impaired students are unable to concentrate on the class in the same way as the sighted ones, making individual instruction a must for the special education teachers.
"I have to lead them hand in hand, to explore the acupoints and repeatedly help them adjust the strength and technique. After each class, it is normal to sweat like rain," Zhang said.
"Zhang takes great care of us and she also cares for every classmate. From all aspects, she is our role model," said Chang Erhan, Zhang's student.
"Many people say that it is not easy to be special education teachers, but life is much harder for those disabled kids," Zhang said. "I have taught thousands of visually-impaired students and they have taught me a lot as well, such as not giving up in the face of difficulty."
More than 90 percent of Zhang's students are now engaged in massage, rehabilitation, healthcare and other fields.
"I'm happier than anybody seeing my students become successful," Zhang said. "Being in the sector for more than 20 years, I also witnessed China's leap-forward development in protecting the rights and interests of the disabled, bringing tangible benefits for visually-impaired students."