Blind Substitute Teacher Touches The Lives of Many Young Tri-City Students - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Blind Substitute Teacher Touches The Lives of Many Young Tri-City Students

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WEST RICHLAND, Wash.-- 70 year old Carol Hardacre says she's been legally blind since a very young age.

She can see shapes and colors and has people write things down in big bold letters. In the classroom she's got different ways to make teaching easier.

"I like her a lot, she's a good teacher, and I enjoy having her as a sub," said Dylan Hartwig, a 6th. grade student in Mrs. Hardacre's class.

Mrs. Hardacre welcomes students in, gives instructions and hands out practice WASL tests, just like any other teacher.

"I get up at 4:15 every morning just to be here on time, and the joy, I just cant explain it," said Hardacre.

If you're wondering how it all works Carol will tell you. She has a machine that takes a picture of text. The same text students have at their desks.

Sometimes students say it can get confusing but they figure it out.

"We don't raise our hands, we just talk out loud, so it's a bit confusing when two people talk at once," said Kristen Baker, a 6th grade student in Mrs. Hardacre's class.

That's why Carol says learning with her is a, help me help you,  kind of thing.

"And I'm not afraid to say to them would you help me in this, could you find the page in the book, or whatever it is," said Hardacre.

Students say for the most part class is pretty normal.

"Except for the fact that we have a dog in the classroom," said Hartwig.

Hartwig is referring to Jett; Hardacre's faithful pooch.

"Oh today I had one of the children say, is Jett blind too? And I go what? I hope not," said Hardacre.

"She has enough courage to go out into the world and be able to teach," said Baker.

"It shows what you can achieve even though you have disabilities," said Hartwig.

Carol had four majors at Whittier College where she did her undergrad. She then went on to get a Master's degree in Special Ed in Bellingham.

Back in the 1960's, Carol says she was the first blind teacher in the country to teach kindergarten and second grade.