Monday, February 18, 2008

Deaf Teacher???

How would you feel if your child had a teacher who was deaf? Okay, Okay let me make myself clear - How would you feel if your hearing child had a regular education teacher who was deaf?

Hmmm...This has been the debate I was part of today. Because what do teachers do on a day off, but talk about education and stress. I wondered what the parents of my past students felt the first time they met me. I wonder how they felt having their child in my class. How do people with a disability or impairment become their career title first and the disability second. I really wonder if I ever can be just the teacher, not the deaf teacher or the hard of hearing teacher.

When I decided to change from Pharmacy to Elementary Education, my mother was so angry. Why, why, why she said. I told her I wanted to make sure each child in my classroom would receive the best education. I wanted to make sure the children were first - a child-centered classroom. The majority of the teachers I had were fantastic, just the best. It was just this one teacher who tried to take my love of learning away. I wanted to be the one who caused students to fall in love with education - books, math, thinking, and learning. I hope I have been successful.

I have been so prosperous to be at the same elementary school for 14 years. I love the people I work with. I love the students and the parents. I love even the boxes that hold my mail and the lunchlady who feed me cucumbers when I was pregnant with Jenna. Teaching is not a job, it is my life. Hearing, hard of hearing, or deaf, I hope I taught others that being deaf is not a disability, it makes me, ME.

Now back to the orginal questions - do you care if your child's teacher is hard of hearing or deaf?


Abbie said...

If I had a child, I wouldn't care if my child's teacher was deaf or not. I am bias because with a teacher that is deaf, I can guarantee that the teacher will be able to pick up more cues from body language of their students.

If a student isn't paying attention, doesn't understand something, anxious or fidgety, a deaf teacher would be able to notice the body language and compensate accordingly to make sure each student gets their due education.

That is just my take on it. I wish you were one of my teachers in school Val :)

John Critser said...

I loved having Deaf teachers because they are role models to Deaf children. They pick up more cues, as I agree with Abbie! Hearing teachers can be wonderful, too, if they can identify with me; but it was really important to have some Deaf teachers in keeping the balance. I had some real good hearing teachers in Elementary, Middle, and High school, but did they ever try to stay in touch with me? NO. It WAS the Deaf teachers who kept in touch with me, exchanged e-mails.

Now I wonder why? I guess having a Deaf teacher who is visible in the Deaf community as being active in it, there are more opportunities to meet up with them and keep in touch by e-mail. The Deaf world is a small world.

But the hearing teachers, they were basically invisible except when I bumped into one at the mall or restaurant, or at a Deaf-coordinated event.

J.J. said...

It wouldn't matter to me if my teacher were deaf, hearing, black, white, yellow, purple, pink, or whatever...

I have had some great teachers...both deaf and hearing...

All that matters to me is that the teacher is good...

Keisha said...

I have 2 children and wouldn't mind one bit.
I'd feel confident that the teacher must be able to perform the required tasks since s/he was hired.

John Egbert said...

It really doesn't matter if the teacher is hearing or deaf.

What matters is the teacher's communication skills.

Many teachers for the deaf across the country do not have the same communication skills as teachers for hearing children in hearing schools

It is the data flow rate that the teacher should have in order to teach children, deaf or hearing.

The reason why most deaf people have 4th grade level reading and writing skill is because their teacher's 4th grade communication skills in sign language.

Data Flow Rate is the major issue about teachers for the Deaf. See this Vlog,

John Egbert

Anonymous said...

I would like to concur with JJ that a teacher, whether deaf or not, be good. I once had a hard-of-hearing principal who was bad (his duties were "removed" but he left.) and a deaf teacher who couldn't teach (he moved to another state.). I also had a hearing teacher who was lousy (she needed to get married!). Oh well...shall I also tell about bad professors, both deaf and hearing?

cnkatz said...

I was a deaf teacher in a regular elementary classroom 25 hearing 2/3 deaf with a team teacher. I am currently teaching ASL to middle school students, (toughie, btw). Generally speaking, it was extremely rewarding for the "general public" hearing children to expreience different teacher, using a language in a different modality and all.

Oh yes, yet it depends on the individual, can't totally generalize.

Sure, just a competent deaf teacher signing, that is. . . if speaking and signing, then . . . if solely speaking, then its a different ball game.

Squ65 said...

Deaf Teacher? Why not? Smile -- I had a very first American African teacher during my junior high school year. I felt weird because I used to live in the white community. I had never seen one in my life! Eventually I had enjoyed her class! Having a Deaf or HOH teacher is awesome! As a Deaf Oralist and I had never learned ASL until I came to Gallaudet. I was delighted to have a Deaf teacher for the first time!

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

You are a tribute to teachers everywhere, you can't imagine what teachers are like here, unmotivated, stressed and lacking love for their students and the job. I would DIE for my son to have you as his teacher...a little bit of compassion is all that's needed in a good teacher, and here, that is so hard to find. Now go save another kid! *smile* Jodi

lolypup said...

Gallaudet's undergraduate education program is in regular education and requires all of their deaf students to do their student teaching in a hearing classroom.

It is probably one of the most stressful and challenging student teaching experience anyone could tackle but rewarding for both the hearing students and deaf teachers.

So students in hearing schools both public and private across DC/MD/VA regularly have deaf teachers in their classrooms along with a qualified interpreter.

Tales from the CI Gal said...

I have learned so much from these comments. One I am excited to hear from different people visiting my blog. To me, teaching is not just a profession, it is a lifetime choice in improving the life of children.

Abbie - you are one fantastic gal, smack.

John - Yes, that is one the comments I have always gotten, picking up on visual cues. You pay attention more to the body language of others, I can pick out when a child does not understand a skill.

JJ - I agee 100%.

Keisha - your blog rocks. I will be visiting and leaving a comment.

John - communication stops 90% of problems. I always take the time to write parents notes each day or e-mail them. I still keep in contact with some past parents even today. it take a few minute, but lets the parent know that their child is important to me.

Carl - the bad teachers are a fact of life. There are teachers who can be successful if someone just helps them. They just don't know where to begin or what to do. College does not prepare you for the two big goals - classroom mangement and planning. that is hands on experience.

cnkatz - you blog rocks too. I can't wait for some tips of the trade.

squ65 - me too, I would have loved to have a teacher like me in school. This is the first year I have a student who is HOH, and we just relate to each other.

Jodi - smack **** Going now to to enjoy reading.....I want Rally Caps in the library.....

lolypup - wow that is awesome. I wonder the success rate on this program. I will look into it.

Stop by again, I love the comments.

KyDeafie said...

Present and future, the students of yours are fortunate to have you as their teacher. Your desirement for the children to get the educations as much as you can give them is truly beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I am currently subbing for the county; (elementary school only) and I have a bi-lateral hearing loss. I can talk but generally have a hard time understanding kids communicate. I have found subbing very rewarding; I tell the kids; I may ask them to repeat something but not to take that personally; and then I say its ok to come to me. The rules are a little different for that one day of subbing.
It's a challenge to be a sub teacher alone!!. The principals of various schools tell me that its been rewarding for the children. I feel its rewarding for me too!!!
so, all I can say is "go for it"

lolypup said...

Sure send an email to Gallaudet University's Department of Education. The success rate is almost 100% believe it or not!

Jennifer said...

Val...I would love for you to teach any of my kids any day!!! They'd be lucky to have you for a teacher :) (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

To answer your question, it shouldn't matter. It's all about skills and talent. I am profoundly deaf and is working as a paraprofessional for several years now. I worked in a hearing classroom with special needs (ADHD/High Risk) and I have worked in Deaf Ed classroom with additional disabilities (Deaf plus). No one really look at my disability. They look at how well and how much their child has improved!

My passion is to work with special needs. I am currently going to school right now to become a Speical Ed Teacher. I have not yet decided on whather to get my masters or not. But for now, I would love to get my bachelors with licensure. However, there are some issues of me getting the licensure because of the phonic. (I can't hear!) I know it's a little off topic but I am wondering if you have a licensure in Bachelor degree? I would love to talk with you in private more about my situation. Please send me an email if you could. Thanks! Sara (Rockymtngrrll at yahoo)

David said...

My Occupational therapist had a student on co-op assignment at the hospital last month. The student was working with me. I of course had to tell her I was deaf. She knew how to sign which surprised me. I asked her why she decided to learn, and she told me her College Instructor was deaf, so she learned to sign to communicate with her better. I was thrilled because I was going through a major depression after becoming very suddenly profoundly deaf. I was unable to work and do my job, so I decided there was nothing I could do. Further compounded by the fact that in Canada, the deaf boast a pathetic 44% unemployment rate. I was ready to throw in the towel.
I love to teach and always wanted to. I just may.
Thank you for your post. I enjoyed it much.

Anonymous said...

Would the deaf/HoH teacher please contact me at I am an orally deaf student in a BEd program and would enjoy hearing about your experiences in further detail, if you are willing. Thanks, Dylan.

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