John Panara

John Panara believes that teaching English is his destiny.

“I grew up being inspired by literature—even woken up by it,” says Panara, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Liberal Studies.

“I can remember my father (Robert Panara, NTID’s first deaf faculty member) strolling around the house on weekend mornings, reciting lines from great poets.”

As the hearing son of deaf parents, Panara has a strong bond to the deaf world. His goal has always been to teach deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

“I get my greatest thrill from interacting with students,” says Panara, who joined NTID in 1978 as a training specialist in the tutor/notetaker training program, and now teaches writing. “They keep me young, and inspire me to find new ways to inspire them in the classroom.”

“I get my greatest thrill from interacting with students,” says Panara, who joined NTID in 1978 as a training specialist in the tutor/notetaker training program, and now teaches writing. “They keep me young, and inspire me to find new ways to inspire them in the classroom.”

With this degree of commitment, it’s easy to see why Panara is recipient of the NTID Student Congress Outstanding Staff Award, and a two-time recipient of the NTID Student Congress Staff Humanitarian Award.

“Seeing my students not only progress through the writing sequence of courses, but also walk across the stage at graduation and receive their degree, gives me great satisfaction, knowing I played a role in their ascent.”

Panara says RIT/NTID is a special place for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. “This is truly a magical place for them where they get the chance to discover, connect and thrive,” he explains. “That’s why I always advise students to make the most of it.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2007 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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