Teacher Tribute
Giving and receiving

Martha Kutteh wants her students to experience the difference

A glossy color photo showing hands on the arms of a wheelchair sits on a desk in front of Will, Pedro and Maria, three students in Martha Kutteh’s 8th grade class at Widener Memorial School, in Olney.

Maria reads the reflection prompt: “What does this photo make you think about or feel?”

“Sad,” Pedro punches into his adaptive keyboard.

“Happy,” says Markita. “All of my friends have wheelchairs.”

“I’ve been in a wheelchair since I was 4,” Will volunteers, “so I’m pretty much used to it.”

The students are doing NID’s photo reflection activity, in which they analyze a photograph to uncover community issues or concerns the images evoke.

Widener is the District’s school for students with disabilities. So it’s not surprising this photo generated conversation.

When she was interviewed for membership in NID’s Teacher Network last spring, Martha told program staff she was eager to join the network.

“As a teacher at a school for all physically disabled students, I see others perform service for my students all the time, she says. ”While it’s a great experience for both parties, I want to see my students be on the other end – to be the givers, not just the receivers.”

At LaSalle, where she completed her undergraduate studies, she led student service projects with the Police Athletic League and Calcutta House (AIDS outreach) and participated in work trips to Tanzania and Tijuana.

“I always envisioned this,” says Martha, “giving my students the chance to experience the difference [between giving and receiving], as I have,” said Martha. “It will open a door that I think has never been opened for them before.”