The Butterfly Cage
Joy, heartache, and corruption: Teaching while Deaf in a California public school
A tender and perspective-shifting book that offers a rare level of understanding about the subtle and and no-so-subtle layers of internalized oppression and deep feelings and dilemmas of Deaf people, written by former Deaf teacher Rachel Zemach.
This mesmerizing, funny, and disruptive narrative invites you to be a fly on the wall in a Deaf classroom at a hearing school, experiencing the immense frustration, unbridled joy, and indelible humor that arise for Deaf adults and children in a hearing environment.
Rachel struggles with staff, administration, and aides who sabotage her efforts at every turn. The students contend with a principal who removes their textbooks, intercom announcements that are totally inaccessible and a system that renders them all defenseless against these dysfunctional and often absurd forces.
You’ll meet seven-year-old Laszlo, the brilliant, language-hungry boy who will capture your heart, and the political, fiercely intelligent elite members of the Deaf community who rally to change legislation after his life takes a shocking turn at age sixteen when he makes a heart-wrenching decision.
In a series of short, distinctive chapters, Zemach shares her personal Deafhood journey, poignant scenes from the classroom, shocking individualized education meetings and their impact, and the larger political and historical picture surrounding Deaf education.