In The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, what made Miss Sullivan's teaching interesting?

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Story of My Life, Helen Keller's autobiographical account of her childhood, Helen admits that her life would have been torment without Miss Sullivan's intervention. Helen has such a special bond with Annie Sullivan that she says in chapter seven, "my teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her." Helen has an avid imagination and is eager to absorb everything. Miss Sullivan's style of teaching makes that so much easier for Helen, who "learns from life itself." It is Annie's confidence in Helen, her complete patience and her ability to make "every subject so real that I could not help remembering what she taught" that ensures that Helen never becomes bored. Annie allows her to explore her subjects in a natural environment, spending many hours of teaching outside. Annie understands Helen's connection with the outdoors and uses that in her teaching. She does not teach Helen the theory without the reality; "everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education."

Miss Sullivan comes from a lowly background and she has had her own difficulties. Having previously had an operation to restore her sight, she is partially sighted herself and this ensures that she never takes anything for granted. This contributes to her own appreciation of her surroundings and she wants to share everything with Helen, realizing that Helen will learn best from personal interaction with her subjects wherever possible. She even teaches Helen geography by taking her to Keller's Landing and making clay maps and using pebbles to construct miniature dams. Helen knows that it is Miss Sullivan's methods and dedication, her "genius" that have made her teaching so interesting and that have made Helen's "first years of my education so beautiful." 

Read the study guide:
The Story of My Life

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question