Tag Archives: teaching

Doors

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it’s mainly due to the fact that my focus on writing has been somewhat distracted. A lot has happened, and yet, not so much. Does that make sense?

In my own personal life, I’ve gone through so many things. But on the family front, it’s been just a waiting game.  What are we waiting for?

We are all waiting for me to get a job. I just recently graduated with a Masters in Special Education (no small feat, right?) and now looking to find a job where I can use my degree. I’m working hard to get everything done so I can apply for my teaching license. Looking for a job is a job in itself. I’ve had several interviews, and all were taken by others who are better qualified or have more experience. I’ve been applying to so many positions at so many different schools. I even ventured to other school districts near me.

It’s not easy being “in the air” and feeling discouraged by the lack of getting a job in what I’ve worked so hard for. It’s also vital that I find a job also because of the increasing cost of living in this city. My husband’s sole income isn’t enough to even stay at the apartment we are in for the next year. We’re doing the best we can, yet, it would be even better if I am able to help with the income.

Such is the world we live in.

It doesn’t help when I struggle to control the anxiety that creeps on me like a beast. I’m clinging onto the one hope and promise that I have.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” – Matthew 6:26

It’s not easy, I’ll admit it! I am anxious and hoping to find a job soon. I have often wondered about applying out of state, but I keep telling myself, “When all efforts have been made here where I am at, then will I start looking outside this state.” Yet, I’ll still have to get some kind of job soon so we can keep our heads above water. That’s the hard part. What will that job be?

I do have one interview this Thursday, and its a job I would so love to have – I would be working and teaching other Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. It’s the ideal job for me, though I wonder if I’m needing a Deaf Education Masters degree. I won’t know until I go for the interview. If they can hire me with just my Special Education degree and give me the opportunity to work towards the necessary Masters degree, that would be utterly amazing and a completely God thing.

It’s hard to hope when the door has been closed on me so many times.

I know… I know… There’s that saying, “When one door closes, another will open.”

I’m just waiting for that door.


Deaf Educating the Hearing

Tonight I had the opportunity to teach a group of hearing, plus one becoming deaf, people about my world.

I had been working on it for a while, especially in preparing a series of slides and making an outline of what to talk about in the allotted hour that I was given. That was a challenge. There is SO much I could say about it.

I narrowed it down to the basics- Hearing loss, how we try to function in a hearing world, and all the things that involve our lives, such as closed captioning, hearing aids, and interpreters. I figured that would be good enough information to help them understand a little bit of our world.

I was pretty nervous all day about how I was going to start, and yet, I knew I was going to be okay. I had my slide show done, and got some ear plugs to have my “students” put in their ears to give them a little bit of deafness for a game I had planned on doing.

I started out with explaining a bit of about the wide range of deafness and what mine was, which was from birth. It was interesting to see the reaction of how my mother didn’t know I was deaf until I was around 3 years old.  I shared a little of my own memories of hearing with my hearing aids for the first time.

I signed and spoke as I went along… Then I had everyone put their earplugs in. We came to find out they didn’t cancel out a whole lot of sound, so I modified the game to where I just whispered the words while they wore the ear plugs. It was hilarious!  Simple words had them baffled. We laughed as we saw each other’s puzzled faces, even after repeating the words several times. I had them write down what they thought I said, and at the end of the game, we all had a lot of fun seeing who got it right and who didn’t. We also had a little bit of fun hearing what others thought I had said when they were wrong. I went on to say that reading lips for a long period of time, for a Deaf person, is exhausting. I saw one person, who is going deaf, nod with agreement.

The next thing we talked about was the variety of hearing aids over time, and I even threw in a comical picture of a “hearing aid” that was an exaggerated piece of art in reality.  I shared about the struggles of having a hearing aid, especially with how expensive they are. The topic of the Cochlear Implant was also brought up, and, even though it’s not something I feel is right for me, it is an option for anyone who feel it is for them.

TTYs and TTDs came up, and then I discussed how videophone has opened such a great way for Deaf people to make phone calls. I had tried to call a friend on my VP, but there was a bit of a technical difficulty. Fortunately, I had the sense to have some pictures of what a VP conversation roughly looks like. The class could even see a picture of how VRS (Video Relay Service) works.  What was really awesome was we had someone who worked at the 911 center share his own experience of working with the relay services to help Deaf people who needed the 911 service.

When we came to talk about ASL (American Sign Language), I shared a little bit of history and how sign language is different in every country. I showed a little bit of what I knew of BSL ABC signs. It was a bit awkward. I told the story of my brother’s experience of finding out how different Australian sign language was from the sign language he had learned from being my brother. We had a little fun of showing how expressive the language is and the necessity of facial expression. My daughter even piped up about how it looks when I am mad.  “Show them, Mom!” I told her no… I didn’t want to scare them off!

Before we knew it, the hour was over. Questions shot up and a lot of them were really good ones. The creation of name signs, how to learn the language – book vs. class, and questions about my own experiences.

Now that I’m done with this class, I am wondering where this will take us… Perhaps a sign class? I think it would be a great way to open up communication between Deaf and Hearing people, even if its just in my church!  One thing I am excited about is being able to help a couple communicate with ASL with one of them becoming deaf. They’re looking forward to it, and I am, too.


The Power of a Name

“Hey! You! Stop pushing your friend. That’s not very nice!” I would say when I first started out in the toddler room where I now work. When trying to take on the role of authority in a classroom, and not knowing the kid’s name, I quickly found to be a daunting task.  It was even harder when I, being a subsitute support staff at the preschool/daycare where I work, would be in four to five classrooms in any given day. The teachers expect the support staff to take over the care of managing the classroom, and I felt overwhelmed as I tried to gain control and respect from the children in the classrooms. Not only that, but I started to feel my head ache at the idea of having to know all the kid’s names in almost the whole school, as well as the teacher’s names. Memorizing names to faces in such a short amount of time was not my strength, I thought.

Getting to know the teacher’s names was easier, as they were my peers and soon became my friends. It also helped that I saw them every day I came into work. Each classroom had an average of 12 kids each, except the infant rooms, and I found that when I was in a classroom long enough, names and faces beecame easier. Sadly, the ones I got to know better were the ones who needed attention and instruction in their behaviors in the classroom. The good and quiet kids, I got to know their names eventually. Having to repeat their names over and over helped me remember them,and it also built a healthy respectful relationship between myself and the children. They soon saw that I was an authority figure when I got to know them and worked alongside with their teachers.

One of the challenges of the names is pronouncing them right. With my hearing loss, it hasn’t been easy with some of the tricky names some of these kids have – especially the foreign names! I learned that the name “Johann” is pronounced without an “N” sound at the end.  It’s more like “Jo- HA”. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes when kids say it, it is hard to figure out the phonetics just by lip-reading! It took me about five minutes with the kids, and finally an adult came in and saved me, explaining how it sounds using the phonetic break up of the word. The kids had quite a lesson on how sometimes a hearing loss, even with hearing aids, can be a struggle. There are even some names that, with my understanding of Spanish sounds, I think it’s supposed to be said one way, especially the double “L”, and only to find out that it isn’t pronounced that way, even though the name LOOKS Spanish.

I’ve been there since May, on and off, though more steadily since September, and I’ve found that it is getting easier to remember names and faces together. There are still a few moments when I get confused between two very similiar looking kids and their names. Fortunately, I haven’t encountered the challenge of identical twins or triplets yet. With knowing their names, I’ve developed several wonderful relationships with kids I see almost every day. I also don’t feel overwhelmed at the idea of adding more names and faces to my already growing list of them in my head. I do know that I may have days when I need to be patient with myself in getting to know kids names in a classroom, especially when its a whole new group. I will also have patience with the kids as well. They have to get to know me, and it’s then when they understand my role in their lives, they are able to respect me as their leader and teacher.