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Brian Oglesbee: Teaching about Vision without Sight
Posted on August 11, 2014, by GAPMP
By Jane Grillo
The stories of Upson-Lee High School Teacher Brian Oglesbee are the embodiment the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership’s mission to build the bridge joining home, school and community to achieve post-secondary success for students with disabilities.
The first thing Brian Oglesbee will tell you about himself is that he’s blind. That’s because over the last 10 years teaching social studies and special education he has learned that it is best to get the questions out of the way first. “I have found we accomplish so much more by just getting to know each other,” he said.
It doesn’t take long for his students to forget that walking across the front of the classroom is a man who has absolutely no sight at all. And while they forget about his disability, he makes it a point to share his story with his students in the hope that he will inspire and energize them and they will remember the life lessons he is teaching.
Parent Mentors, special education directors and other education professionals from all around the state will have an opportunity to hear that, and other stories he will share as the opening keynote speaker at the 2014 Annual Georgia Parent Mentor Kickoff Conference on Weds. Sept. 10, at the Athens Classic Center.
Oglesbee was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at age 2. As the years passed the family was learning to adjust and manage at the age of 16 he completely lost his sight and, for a time, his optimism and energy. And that is a critical part of his story too: how his family helped him live without his sight but regain his vision.
Oglesbee was an avid golfer up until he completely lost his sight. Today, he tells people about how getting back his golf game through the patience and optimism of his family, helped him to become the 2014 American Blind Golf Match Play Champion. “My mom kept at me. Asking me over and over again, ‘Do you want to go to the driving range?’” he said. It finally worked. She knew that if he could just get out there and do it, he could accomplish great things.
Scroll down to learn more about Brian Oglesbee’s achievements as a golfer:
Oglesbee learned that being blind did not mean he had to give up doing the things he loved: like golf and his goal of becoming a teacher.
Participants at this year’s Kickoff Conference, in particular, will find hope and excitement in his experiences as a student at the Georgia School for the Blind and his stories about how the Disability Services department at the University of Georgia had to learn for the first time how to assist a blind student teacher to work in a classroom.