Anne Sullivan is one of the most well-known teachers in history. She is best known for being the teacher of Helen Keller and the subject of movies such as The Miracle Worker.
Anne Sullivan Articles by Students
by Annie (Plattsmouth, Nebraska) | May 4, 2010
I believe the person I admire most in the history of the deaf would have to be a person who was not deaf at all but a person who had a tremendous impact on a persons life who was deaf and on many who are not deaf, Anne Sullivan.
From the beginning of her life, Anne had to endure numerous obstacles. Her brother was crippled from TB. She was the victim of poverty and physical abuse at the hands of her own father.
At five years old she was struck with a disease that left her blind. Two years after her affliction her mother died and her father abandoned her and her brother to an orphanage where her brother died shortly thereafter.
Even with all these trials to contend with she was able to go to school and graduate as valedictorian of her class. During this time she had numerous operations to regain her eyesight. After graduating she began her tutoring of Helen Keller.
Helen was not an easy student, being blind and deaf from nineteen months old on she was a very lost and frightened seven year old. With tremendous patience and diligence Anne was able to reach Helen and open a whole new world full of words and feelings that could have easily remained unknown to her.
With most people once a feat is accomplished it is left behind, that was not the case with Anne. See devoted her entire life to Helen, following her in school and then after when Helen would travel and give lectures.
I admire Anne Sullivan greatly for her perseverance and diligence. I truly believe she is a highly influential person in the history of the deaf.
by Christie Busselle (Missouri) | March 3, 2013
“The Miracle Worker” has always been one of my favorite movies. Even when Melissa Gilbert did the remake of it with Patty Duke switching from Helen’s role to Anne’s role. In both movies I felt Anne’s character was the star.
She was a woman who, despite her handicap, showed a determination and strength to achieve all that she could without leaning on consideration of her partial blindness. She also believed in Helen’s ability to learn even when no one else really did. She drove Helen to learn and achieve and wouldn’t let Helen herself be her own worst enemy.
Because of her fortitude and not giving up, Helen Keller became the first deaf-blind woman to graduate from college with honors. Quite an accomplishment for one who was blind as well as deaf. One life affects another and then another touches many.
I am determined to become an advocate for the deaf community in my community in whatever way I can and am so glad for these classes provided here at no cost. Further inspiration has been given to me to move forward in this endeavor by reading the “Deaf History” that was provided here. God has lead me to this place and now I will follow Him where He leads me.
by Clara Olfert | June 11, 2020
The first reason Anne Sullivan is my favorite character is because Anne was caring. Anne was always there for Helen. She taught Helen to read, write, and speak when everyone else thought it was impossible. She became like a second mother to Helen. Since Helen’s mom had more than one child, Anne helped her by taking charge of Helen. Helen’s parents loved her but did not know how to teach and care for her. Anne paid close attention to Helen and loved her. She cared for Helen and helped her get into colleges. Helen graduated from Radcliffe College and became the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college. Anne was there every step of the way.
Another reason my favorite character is Anne Sullivan is because she helped Helen. She was always helping Helen learn and grow physically and mentally. Anne taught and helped raise Helen. When Helen first learned how to speak, Anne was happy for her, even though her first word was just the word “water”. Anne knew that she had to help Helen progress forward with her words. Even though other people thought that teaching Helen anything would be useless, Anne was willing to take the challenge. The steps to get Helen to say water were long, slow, and hard. Helen had to learn the alphabet and learn how to put the letters together to make into words. Since Helen could not see or hear it was hard work, but Anne came through and helped Helen a lot. When Helen went to college Anne spelled what the teacher was saying into Helen’s hand. Anne had to be a very talented multi-tasker. Anne had to hear what the professor said and spell everything he was saying into Helen’s hand.
Anne Sullivan was always patient with Helen even when it was hard. Anne knew that it would be difficult to teach a child who was both blind and deaf, but she never gave up on Helen even when it was challenging. When Anne first came to help Helen, Helen was spoiled and stubborn which made it difficult. Helen’s progress was slow and Anne could have easily given up, but she didn’t. She matched her pace with Helen’s and tried to answer all of the questions Helen asked.
Isaiah 41:10 says,“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God knew that Helen could do great things. He sent Anne to Helen because He knew that Helen would benefit from Anne.
Anne Sullivan was a caring, helpful, and patient teacher to Helen. Anne Sullivan can be an inspiration not only for teachers of the deaf, but also to teachers everywhere. When teaching gets hard and teachers feel discouraged and tempted to give up they can remember Anne Sullivan.
“Anne Sullivan.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 2 Mar. 2020, www.biography.com/activist/anne-sullivan.
Keller, Helen. The Story of My Life: with Her Letters (1887-1901). Barnes & Noble, 2006.
“Anne Sullivan Quotes (Author of Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway).” Goodreads, Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/29298.Anne_Sullivan.