There is a special feeling that comes with working with children and impacting knowledge in their lives. It’s even better when those children gain exceptional confidence resulting in great self-achievement. As a photography teacher, I take it as a privilege to experience children across different backgrounds and with a variety of talents and learning abilities. Every single day is a learning lesson and each interaction with my students leaves me yearning for more insights to exploit their talents to the best. My inspiration comes from seeing their thirst to learn.
One of my students, however, has been on my inspiration list for a long time.
He is Samuel.
Samuel is only eight years old and happens to be slightly different from his peers. When he was 3, he was diagnosed with cancer that resulted in blindness in his left eye. Although the cancerous tumor was treated, he didn’t regain his eyesight on his left eye. Since then, his right eye became weak too.
Amazingly, this did not hinder Samuel from unleashing his talents.
His parents enrolled him in one of my photography courses at a student care centre. He has been participating in DSLR Beginners level 1 & 2 courses, and his performance is exceptional. You are probably wondering, how a small boy with just one eye (which is partially blind) can work with the camera- a skill that requires sharp vision ability?
Believe it or not, despite him straining through the viewfinder, his photos are simply gorgeous. His mother once mentioned to me that, his poor eyesight might delay his observation of things around him. However, Samuel is patient on that and does not believe in giving up.
For instance, there is this day we had an outdoor lesson. The lesson was all about taking photos of nature. It was a hot day, and most of the students had a hard time under the sun due to sweating and too much reflection. Surprisingly, Samuel never complained. He focused on getting sharp photos of all the beauty he could get. Flowers, butterflies, birds and everything beautiful thing he could find. Assuming you are the teacher, wouldn’t you feel blessed to have Samuel as your student? To tell you the truth, I’m not only blessed to have a student like Samuel, I’m honored to be on his journey of self-discovery.
What keeps Samuel going?
Samuel has managed to stand out against all odds as a result of the love and support towards him. His parents are the leaders in his achievement. His classmates love his enthusiasm, and this keeps Samuel motivated to learn even more.
As his teacher, I aim at showing him that he can do even better. You should hear his questions after taking a photo, ‘Teacher Angeline, what do you think of this one? Is this ok?’ To be honest, his pictures are beautiful. However, to keep him looking forward to better shots, I tell him that although the photo looks good, a re-take would be even better. Unlike, other students who would easily get discouraged by this phrase, Samuel focuses on taking another shot which ends up even better.
One thing I’m grateful I did is to integrate Samuel with the other students. I didn’t give him simpler tasks because of his eyesight. I treated him like any other student with sound vision. This improved his confidence in photography and an opportunity to see the world with a panoramic view. His exceptional performance has made me award him The Outstanding Student Award, a reward that has since then even more enthusiastic.
What’s next for Samuel
I’m not sure what Samuel will be in the future, but one thing I’m assured of is that he will be an achiever. His humble personality and curiosity to learn are just a few of the values every parent hopes for his child. He is a fighter and an inspirational for people around him.
Why I am sharing Samuel’s story
Photography is not only fun, but it boosts a child’s self-esteem. Samuel’s excellent performance has made him believe more in himself. Considering his peers look up to him for photography tips makes both his friends and Samuel himself believe that disability is not inability.
At Panoramic Photography Education, we feel proud to be part of Samuel’s success story. Our ultimate goal is to promote children’s well-being and self-esteem through exciting photography lessons. Together with other students, Samuel continues to expound on his creativity and self-development- values that will contribute to his future success in photography and other activities.