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My Teaching Journey Has Been Full of Disappointment – And I Am So Grateful

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Teacher. That’s me.
I knew since wayyyyyy back in elementary school that I wanted to teach.
I’d make my brothers sit in little chairs and desks in our basement and I’d write on the chalkboard that was attached to my Dad’s workshop.
It was pure bliss for me.

Ever since my college graduation nothing in my teaching career went the way I planned. And I couldn’t be happier.

I went to a college that was the best in the area to learn to be a teacher (Shout out to West Chester University!) When I graduated and started in the field, nothing went the way I had envisioned. I wanted the jobs in the beautiful new buildings whose hallways smelled like construction paper and scented markers. Instead, I had in-your-face, up close experiences with the disparity in education across this country. I met role models for grit in an inner city school up against horrific odds. I learned to respect groups of people that were so incredibly different from me.

But most of all, I learned perspective, and how our environment, experiences and our village shape that perspective.

I had to leave the clsssroom in 2000 to stay at home and help my first two babies navigate a world without sight. My boys were born with a rare blindness and I had to learn all new literacy and independence tools: braille and the white cane. Those skills have carried them to great success.

Fast forward twenty years and now I am teaching parents and teachers how to educate blind children. I am teaching employers the benefits of hiring blind workers. And I am teaching tens of thousands of people how to be resilient when life throws a curve ball or hits you with a sucker punch.

It’s been an extraordinary career thus far – and yet, here we go again…. another curve ball: I’m supposed to be getting big orders together for my new book and sending out kits to schools as I was in the pre-launch of my Thriving Blind blindness awareness/Author visit programs for schools via in person and Skype.
Now our schools are empty for an indefinite time.

But if I’ve learned anything on this journey it is to be flexible and to watch for the door that opens after one closes… or is stuck shut for a bit. My life has been a training ground for resilience. I sure am grateful for the practice!

If you are a teacher and want to join the uocoming Zoom calls to hear about the #ThrivingBlind author & blindness awareness program, please email for info. And if you are in @linkedin or Facebook connect with me there!

Hang in there folks – soon everyone will be back to jam packed hallways and overwhelming deadlines!

Kristin Smedley is a 2019 Champion of Hope Award winner. She is an author, non profit leader and TEDx speaker.  She originally planned to be a third grade teacher… and then two of her three children were diagnosed as blind.  Kristin now shares her journey of raising her kids to not just survive challenges, but to thrive!  She speaks internationally regarding blindness and resilience,  and she just launched her new series co-teaching people how to be Brilliantly Resilient.  Watch her TEDx talk here and order her new book here.  If you  are interested to have Kristin speak at your upcoming event, school, or business meeting,  email her at or contact her here!

Thriving Blind Academy!

Join the community with a vibe of THRIVE! Our mentors, live programs and online portal guide Parents of blind/VI children and blind/VI young adults and adults to create lives they are excited to live! 

the book thriving blind

Find out how Kristin went from crying on the couch over her two son’s diagnosis of blindness, to raising them to thrive! Download the Introduction chapter of Kristin’s Best Selling Book Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight. Click the button below!

Cover of What I Can Be IS Up To Me children's book

Get Kristin's NEW inclusive, accessible children's book, "What I Can Be Is Up To Me" is here! Pre-Order the book OR donate one to a teacher/family!

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About Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley is the Best Selling author of Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and Brilliantly Resilient: Reset, Rise and Reveal Your Brilliance. A recognized expert in the blindness and rare disease communities, Kristin won the highly regarded Champion of Hope Award and was named an Ambassador for the National Organization of Rare Disorders. Kristin is a popular, in demand speaker who has been invited to share her message internationally.


As CEO of a global patient organization, she coordinated legislation (H.R. #625) that became the first in US history to be submitted in Braille. Kristin spoke at the FDA to help achieve the first ever FDA approved gene therapy to treat an inherited retinal disease in the United States. Her TEDx Talk, book and international summit change perceptions of blindness, and sparked a global movement, Thriving Blind Academy, that is solving the unemployment, literacy, and financial crisis in the blind the community.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristin co-founded Brilliantly Resilient to help people come through life’s challenges and setbacks brilliant, not broken.