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To Teach or Not To Teach

Since the beginning of human memory, stories have served many purposes. While many hold knowledge and recollections, some stories hold inspiration. They serve to sow the seeds of potential for the future. In this fictional piece, Aditi explores the possibilities that could open up for an AAC user.

This is an Avaz Megaphone feature.

a megaphone being held up

Not Just Any Morning

Sunidhi took a deep breath to calm her frazzled nerves and checked her reflection in the mirror yet again. The mirror did its best to reassure her, yet again, that she was looking picture perfect indeed! 

She absentmindedly took a comb and began brushing her hair when she heard her mother calling her. “Nidhu, come and eat your breakfast. The traffic will be getting worse now. You don’t want to be late for the interview, do you?”

Yes of course! There was no way on Earth she could be late for the interview for her dream job – that of an English teacher at a reputed International school in her city. Granted, there weren’t too many people out there like her. Someone with a Masters degree in English literature, who perceived teaching primary schoolers as their dream job. But nothing about her life was run-of-the -mill. Be it her learning and growth trajectory or even the way she convinced the school to interview her. It all seemed like stuff that fairy tales are made of!

Chasing Dreams

Sunidhi picked up her bag and headed downstairs to grab a spot of breakfast before heading out.

“Are you all set?” asked her father.

“Yes Appa, I am all set!” typed Sunidhi. “But I am also feeling very nervous.”

“You don’t necessarily have to do this Nidhu” remarked her mother, “Imagine going to school everyday. Dealing with noisy and mischievous little kids and colleagues who may not be aware or easy to work with. You are such a good writer. Why don’t you take a content writing job? It will give you the flexibility to work from home. Plus, you could begin working on the novel that you have been planning to for a while now.”

“I know I don’t have to do this”, typed Sunidhi, “but I want to do it. As for the novel, I can begin working on it alongside my job at the school as well.”

“I agree!”, said her father. “Good luck. Go, chase your dream. Always remember that your Amma and I are here to support you in any way that we can.”

If Not Me, Then Who?

Sunidhi walked through the silent corridor that led to the principal’s office. She knocked on the door and entered the office.

“Good morning!” said the Principal. “Please, take a seat.”

Sunidhi sat down, put her iPad on the table and typed, “Good morning and thank you for agreeing to speak to me.”

The Principal took a deep breath and remarked, “In my thirty year career, you are the most unusual candidate that I have interviewed. Tell me more about yourself. What made you want to pursue a career in teaching English to autistic primary schoolers?”

Sunidhi took a deep breath and began typing. “I understand, I am probably the first non speaker and AAC user who is being interviewed for the role of a primary school teacher. But my life has always been about challenging the status quo. My educators and parents introduced me to AAC as a child. They taught me to type to communicate and this opened up a world of endless possibilities for me.”

She continued typing, “I was fortunate to be a part of an ecosystem that presumes competence. This in turn, helped me achieve my goal of getting a masters degree. I believe in the power of the autistic mind and want to facilitate the shaping of young minds to help them reach their full potential. Besides, being an autistic myself, I will probably understand the students better.”

“I agree”, replied the principal. “But there is the sensory aspect of coming into school everyday. As you are aware, schools are noisy places to work in. In your capacity as an educator, you will be expected to help young autistic children achieve self regulation and focus so that they can learn to the best of their ability.”

My Best Shot

“Yes, I am very aware of this”, typed Sunidhi. As with any other workplace, I will require some accommodations. But I am confident about doing this. I do not believe in assuming that something may not work for me, without so much as giving it a try. Besides, I might, by the way of being an example, teach my students to advocate for themselves. I am very keen on being a teacher and I will give this my best shot.” 

That afternoon, the sun seemed to shine brightly especially for her. She was now a working woman. Sunidhi couldn’t wait to get started at school next week.

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Author’s Note

This tale can be best described as an utopian one. Yet, such is the power of storytelling – the power to herald positive change. The character of Sunidhi, in this story, is inspired by Jordyn Zimmerman. An AAC user, Jordyn is an Apple Distinguished Educator and serves on the United States President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Here’s wishing that in the coming months and year, we see employment opportunities open up for us AAC users.


Avaz Megaphone is a platform for neurodivergent individuals to express themselves through the written word. We accept opinion pieces, short stories and poetry. Authors of accepted works will receive an honorarium. To make a submission please email us on: collaborate@avazapp.com 

WRITTEN BY

Aditi Sowmyanarayan

Student & Writer

Aditi Sowmyanarayan is an eighteen year old who uses Avaz, a text to speech app, to communicate. She goes to Ishanya India Foundation, a special school in Bengaluru. Aditi is an avid blogger and an aspiring writer. She blogs on www.smallstepbigthought.blogspot.com

She can be reached on Instagram at writeaditi and on her Facebook page : small step big thought

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