Disability campaigner Joan Hume hated being called 'an inspiration'

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High school teacher Joan Hume was 23 when she broke her neck in a car accident, leaving her with quadriplegia.

But if her colleagues thought that was the end of her career, they were very wrong. It was the 1970s and schools weren't prepared for a teacher who uses a wheelchair.

Joan was determined, and eventually became the first woman who uses a wheelchair to teach in a classroom.

She'd been worried the students wouldn't accept her, until she intercepted a note that read, "Isn't Ms Hume a bitch?" — which delighted her.

According to her obituary, written by friend and fellow teacher Terry Fletcher, Joan was driven "absolutely bonkers" by those who said she was inspirational because she was teaching.

"I'm not anyone's inspiration. I'm just here doing the job I'm trained to do," she'd say.

"She was a catalyst for these things. She wasn't afraid of tackling important people or upsetting them in any way," Ms Fletcher says.

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