The teacher, who for 35 years knew how to bring out the best in every student, whether talented and diligent or struggling, tells how her work for many years with different kinds of students inspired her to write books about special needs children.
I admit that the image of my high school math teacher etched in my brain is not particularly flattering! And with that image in my head, I came to the interview with Yael Manor.
Tell me a little about yourself
“As you already know, for 35 years I taught math in high school. During these years, I also held other positions, such as homeroom teacher, mathematics teaching coordinator, and a high school principal. I am a widow; I have four children and seven grandchildren.”
Tell me what type of teacher you were?
“From my first day in the classroom as a teacher, I had a sense – within a short time I really understood the student in front of me. I understood his feelings, his fears and what he did not understand and immediately understood how to approach him and how to move him forward.”
Do you have specific examples?
“A lot of them. Every time a special needs child entered the school, he is immediately sent to my math class! Why? In truth, I do not really know… Probably because of my high achievements with these kids! True, each child is special in his own right, but there are those who need extra attention. One such special needs child was Owen. He was a nice, brilliant boy with cerebral palsy! Owen sat in a wheelchair and needed assistance to help him with every physical activity, from basic necessities to writing, but Owen had a rare gift. Owen was very smart, and I? I knew how to bring out his gift and get it out to the world. I did not see the involuntary movements, I did not hear the stammering speech, I saw only a brilliant and rare child who was thirsty for human connection, recognition, caring, progress and love! The encounter with Owen ignited my imagination, and thus inspired the book “Who Knows Jordan?” A book that encourages self-esteem and self-confidence.”
5 stars raving reviews on Amazon
“Take Autumn. Autumn, a girl who is blind from birth and uses a cane and a helper, insisted on integrating into the regular school system. Of course, they sent her to study mathematics in my class. How do you explain mathematics to a blind child, you ask? It turns out it is possible, but only with a lot of determination from both of us, as well as with the help of dedicated technology, Autumn has become the best in the class! Autumn’s story filled me with the challenge and the need to integrate special needs children in all ordinary classrooms! This is how the story “Dana deserve a playground too” was born.
An elementary school librarian wrote about it:
I am an elementary school librarian and my Second-Grade classes are working on constructing playground equipment that is accessible to a wider range of students. Imagine my happy surprise to find this book which addresses this exact issue! It will work perfectly as a springboard for students to think about possible playground “inventions” that they can create to help solve this problem. Thank You!”
I heard you just published a new book, tell me a little about it
“Meet Daniel, Daniel was diagnosed with high functioning autism. Daniel allowed his classmates to experience acceptance of the other, through patience and tolerance, and is the inspiration for the book “Who am I? Can You See?” – This book, which tells about a group of kindergarten children, emphasizes the special and beautiful in each child and encourages acceptance of the other.”
If I were to interview one of your students, what do you think they would say about you?
“Out of dozens of letters I have received from parents and students, I brought one with me, want to read it?”
“I do not have the words to express my gratitude and the tremendous appreciation I feel for you for not giving up on me, making me continue fighting and not giving up. Our meetings were so inspiring – at every encounter I learned something new from you. Be it math or how to be a better person and at peace with myself. I could not relax after every lesson with you, your ability to teach and guide, while providing a sense of security that even if it does not work, everything will be ok…”
Where can people buy your books?
“All my books is here: http://bit.ly/YaelManor”