Beth Harris -  University of Arizona

Photo: NCLVI Fellow, Beth Harris

Hi. My name is Beth Harris, recently of Commerce, Georgia but now Tucson, Arizona. I began my professional excursion into the field of visual impairment in January 1985 after completing my Bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University in the area of visual impairment. After a year and a half working as a resource and itinerant teacher in West Virginia I decided to pursue my Master’s in Orientation and Mobility from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Since then I have been working as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and/or Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

When I first entered college I never intended to be a teacher. Through the years, though, I grew to love the role of teacher and of watching my students take what I taught them into their lives. I had the opportunity to experience working in various settings including in a residential school, as an itinerant teacher, a resource teacher, as well as contract services. I worked with all ages from infants to seniors. I worked to instill independence in all my students, teaching them skills they would need to be able to lead independent and productive lives. It’s an amazing feeling to see students take more control of their lives because of skills I taught them. Through the years I worked with parents, administrators, and teachers to help them understand the special needs of our students but to also understand that our students need to have the same expectations as other students.

As I move forward in my education and life I look forward   to sharing my knowledge and expertise with the next generation of teachers. Receiving the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment Fellow has afforded me the opportunity to continue my pursuit of excellence in education for students with visual impairments.