MindGym Inspiring LETers: Visually Impaired Joel Rescober Sees with His Heart

Post by Coach Alice

Do you remember the famous quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye?

I used to have this quote on many of the handmade bookmarks that I crafted when I was younger (and there were no e-books yet).   I liked it because it had the word “heart” which until this day is my favorite icon to personalize most of my notes and messages (yes, you may have noticed).   I memorized the quote probably because it gave me an excuse, a justification, and explanation that my myopic vision (which required wearing contact lenses at 13) was alright.

After 3 decades, my liking for this quote resurfaced but no longer in the same context that I had when I was younger.  I have appreciated it from the perspective of an adult who lost one’s material possessions due to business failures. I understood its meaning from the perspective of a 50-year old woman desiring significance in life over credits for a report, an expensive piece of jewelry or a new car.

I grasped its deeper meaning as I encountered a visually impaired (VI) trainee, Joel Rescober, aspiring to be a professional teacher to be able to lead and help others who have been left behind due to their vision.

Joel had a likable voice and the first time I spoke with him on the phone, we burned the phone line talking for over an hour.  He was canvassing for a review center near his home in Project 4.  He said he saw MindGym and got curious.  He never sounded desperate or pitiful.  He had humor.  I was charmed!  I said “Yes” on his first call.

Oo Joel, tumatanggap kami ng VI.

He was challenged and so were we.  Having met Joel at MindGym in 2011, my myopic vision about life and people has changed markedly.

I share Joel’s insights below (which we published in MindGym’s LETers Choice LET Reviewer)  to inspire sighted students and to challenge all LET takers to go beyond their limitations and use their many gifts to reach their life goals.  And to teachers, to go beyond judging a student by his/her externalities and intelligences and be sensitive to the inner beauty and goodness which (for sure) each student possesses.

Seeing with my heart

By Joel Rescober

Things seemed hopeless when I went totally blind 13 years ago. But over the years, I learned to reengineer  my mind. Changing negative and self-defeating thoughts to  a positive mindset and outlook in life became second nature to me.

Now, I can tell stories and make fun of those times that I fell into manholes due to my visual impairment. Looking back, I remember that those painful falls and helpless times nudged me to cope with my blindness and develop my other God-given talents. I learned to read and write in Braille, do therapeutic massage, use talking computers, finish my education degree, and take the LET.

Passing the LET was very elusive for a visually impaired aspiring teacher like me. I found myself repeating the cycle of LET review and test taking several times in vain.  Of course, each time I hoped to pass.  On my first two tries, I took the LET barely prepared except for occasional self-review.  On my first LET try, an unexpected emotional depression crushed my spirit and I thought I would have a better chance next time.  Second try, I still failed because I did not review well.

Masakit bumagsak sa LET. Sayang ang pagod, panahon, at pagkakataon para marating ang iba pang pangarap ko sa buhay.  With each failure, I became stronger and more determined for a better fight.  On my third try, surely it was the Lord who made me “see” MindGym on the net.  And this time, I felt that I am on my way to becoming a licensed teacher after all my efforts, my caring coaches, and my supportive batchmates.  When I heard the news:  Kuya Joel, wala pangalan mo sa LET passers, I felt so sad.  I did my best already.

I never gave up.  I was allowed to attend LET coaching again.  Aside from Sir Albert and Ma’m Alice’s inspiring words and deeds and the support of other batchmates, I had no less than MindGym Top 1 Jean Millare and top rater Louise Porciuncula by my side tutoring me.  It was my fourth try when I finally nailed it down.  Tulad ng tatlong pagbagsak ko, naiyak ako sa pagpasa. I cried tears of joy. My heart burst with contentment, gratitude, and happiness.

I thank God, first of all, for putting me in a rare world full of darkness. Others would have questioned and even cursed their dark worlds.  I thank Him because He may have taken my sight from me but definitely He replaced it with a strong spirit and a brave heart to hold on to a vision.  Alam kong may plano ang Diyos para sa akin. Natupad na ang aking pangarap maging professional teacher at pinalad pang makapag-aral muli sa masters.

I know that you have your own predicament to fix, a weakness to remedy, and a failure to overcome.  Many of you may also be “blind” and never see the blessings you have been given.

As you review for LET, learn to rise above your usual selves.  Overcome fear of failing with action.  Study hard.  Understand LET concepts.  Ask coaches and friends for help.  Face your fight courageously on LET day. Pray and focus.

And remember, always see things with your heart just as I did.

Joel passed the Licensure Examinations for Teachers in April 2011.  He has been an inspiration to many teachers enrolled at MindGym’s intensive coaching for the LET as he speaks about the many hurdles he had to overcome before he passed LET.

He is a permanent trainor-inspirational speaker to MindGym’s intensive coaching and review for the LET. He teaches visually impaired adults how to use technology, notably those produced by the IBM and Samsung.
He is an avid student and has not stopped learning even after he got his professional license as teacher.  He has enrolled for a masteral course in Special Education at the Philippine Normal University and has continuously upgraded his technology skills through attendance and participation in foreign seminars like: the Teruko ICT Advance Training in Penang Malaysia and The National Visually Impaired Summit in Malaysia .
Joel will always be, for me, an iconic Filipino teacher who has a “bright vision”, for in the darkness of space that he endures, he see stars we never would see or imagine to have existed at all — as he uses the lenses of his heart.

About Mo/am Alice

As Education Administrator/Director of MindGym, she tackles the center’s day-to-day affairs and gives its learners the warmth, care, and support that only the “heart” could afford to deliver. As one of the main coaches for MindGym’s Intensive Coaching for LET, she infuses practical lessons not only for LET success but for life as a teacher. She vows to be a lifelong learner. Follow her on Twitter.

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