Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Former teacher hid his illiteracy during career of 17 years

THE GUARDIAN , NEW YORK

A retired teacher who now spends his time campaigning for improved literacy has revealed that he taught classes for 17 years even though he could not read or write.

Despite his illiteracy, John Corcoran worked as a teacher then as a property developer until the age of 48, when he decided to seek help. He used oral and visual stimuli with his pupils, rather than words, and insists he was a very successful teacher.

He began to hide his inability to read from the age of about 10, relying on classmates to help him, he told 10 News in San Diego.

He continued undetected through high school and the University of Texas at El Paso, where he gained an athletics scholarship and was then automatically offered a teaching job. That is when he created an elaborate oral teaching method to avoid detection in the high school classes he taught, including English grammar.

He is now the president of the John Corcoran Foundation, which is dedicated to eradicating adult illiteracy.

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