Jimmy Palmaro can’t read from a textbook or a give a traditional Powerpoint presentation, but it’s clear as day that he can teach.
Palmaro, 57, is an after-school volunteer tutor at the Colony South Brooklyn Houses, a social services nonprofit in that offers social and educational programs to the disadvantaged in Brooklyn, New York. Better known to his students as Mr. P, you can see in the touching video above that even though he’s blind, he’s quite the effective educator.
As Huffington Post reports, in the 1980s Palmaro was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can run in families. Over the next 24 years, he slowly lost his vision, which meant he had to leave his job at the post office. Despite this, he found a new calling as a teacher and for the past 12 years, he’s been tutoring elementary and junior high school children.
Maybe because he’s blind, Palmaro is extra adept at communicating to his students and getting them to talk through things with him. “My students have to work out the question and verbally express it to me, a process which forces them to familiarize themselves with the problem in a new way,” he told photographer Phyllis B. Dooney, who created the video. “I am an unusually good listener.”
And he’s certainly been an inspiration to his students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. “I tell my students, ‘Don’t let your limitations define you. Don’t be shortsighted,'” Palermo told HuffPo. “I’ve gained things through my blindness that are not limitations.”