(Blogger's note: Please don't argue semantics with me -- I know that some people in the deaf and hard-of-hearing universe are offended by the terms "impaired" and "disability", but these terms are regularly used and acceptable in public schools to qualify students who do not hear normally and require assistive listening devices, such as hearing aids, to function in the regular education or special education classroom. So I will use those terms here in this post, as well. If you are one who is offended by the use of these terms, please don't read any further.)
During my first year of teaching, my school had a hearing-impaired, self-contained classroom with a few students whose residual hearing with a hearing aid enabled them to stay in a classroom that emphasized aural learning. I remember that the teacher of the HI room asked if two of her first grade girls could come to my classroom a few minutes each day to do enrichment activities with my first graders and practice their listening and speaking skills. They were delightful young ladies, and they told their teacher that they loved being in my room because I spoke so clearly and articulately. They could hear me, and they could lip-read me easily.
Other than that first year in my 24-year career, I haven't had any other students with any sort of hearing impairment or disability.
Then I lost my hearing.
Is it a random coincidence that this year I have a child with bilateral, severe-profound hearing loss with auditory neuropathy, a student with unilateral moderate hearing loss who will be getting a hearing aid next week, and a student with hyperacusis? All at once, and all in the same classroom?
Or is it a part of some strange, universal design that crossed these children's paths with mine?
I think I know.