Who Gets to Tell Your Story? Disability and Identity in a ‘Perfect’ World
Thursday, January 16
Developing one’s identity is a complicated business, especially because so much of it is tied to the expectations of others. This is particularly true during adolescence, when the desire to fit in and be loved can cause self-doubt and sometimes even self-loathing. How do your limitations—physical, cognitive, psychological—impact who you are and how you are seen by those around you? Do you have a say in how your story gets told? Using a powerful personal story of his own, interwoven with disarming humor, veteran educator and disability advocate John Sharon will explore the intersectionality of identity development and human limitations and what it’s like to live in a world that rewards the perfect over the good.
John Sharon Bio
Born with a rare physical disability, John Sharon was educated in independent schools from grade 1 onward, graduating high school from St. Albans School in Washington, DC. He graduated cum laude from Connecticut College with a degree in Government. Mr. Sharon has taught in independent schools for more than 30 years, and for 22 of those years he has also worked as a senior-level administrator in various capacities. He is a frequent presenter at the National Association of Independent Schools’ Diversity Leadership Institute, and he has also worked extensively as a speaker and facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League’s “A World of Difference” program. He has been an adjunct faculty member for Independent School Management’s Summer Institutes, and has presented and led workshops at numerous schools and regional conferences around the country. Currently Mr. Sharon is both the Director of the Academic Program and Chair of the Social Studies Department at the Fenn School in Concord, MA, and is also the founder of Disabilities Understood, an organization that seeks to empower people of all abilities through education and training. Mr. Sharon is a nationally licensed soccer coach and is a singer, songwriter, and harmonica player—mostly Blues and Bluegrass. He and his wife Amy live outside of Boston and have two almost-grown-up children.