Thursday, March 20, 2008

And just like that.....

And just like self-confidence, self-esteem, and hard work was ripped from under me.

Slap..tears...voice cracks....shaking.........

As a special education teacher one of my responsibilities is to assist in making the transition from elementary to middle school. It is always a difficult time, I'm letting my "babies" go off to the big new school. So this year I scheduled a meeting with the middle school to discuss the transition and programs for my students. So far so good.....I had no problems with any speech or understanding since it was in a closed room with only two people. Then the LEA came into the meeting to discuss a student. She asked the name of two of my students who are Hispanic. I told her. She looked at me and said - are you sure?

yes....She said say it again...I did....She said it is a L not a T......heartbeating....voice cracking....she questioned me again.....this time I said that is what she answers to when I call her.....heatbreaking....heart hurts.....Took everything I could to just pick myself up and leave the room.....failure......

I have known the LEA for years and I know she does not know I am deaf or had cochlear implant surgery. I know that she did not mean it that way, but my heart felt all my hard work just slip away. I felt less then a teacher at that moment, no less than a person. All my life I have dealt with people like that. Everyone has there horror stories of discrimination. It is not the discrimination, but how we deal with it.

I made a few mistakes in life in dealing with situations like this before. I cried...I argued...I bullied....I filed lawsuits(that is a good thing).....But in the end, did I make myself a stronger person? No....but this time...I will.

I'm done crying, heartbreaking, and allowing others to make me feel belittled. I am taking back my life, I am taking back my pronunciation of words and my heart....I am going to go over to the school at the next meeting and talk to her in private and let her know how it made me feel. I don't need an audience or an argument, I just need to let this person know I'm deaf and the questioning was inappropriate. I don't want an apology. I just want her to know that it was inappropriate and STOP IT.... then walk away.

What do you think? I am open to suggestions that require dealing with this one on one. Also tell me how you handled any situation in the past.



Abbie said...

While there is nothing worse then re hatching open wounds and potentially adding salt to them. I'm just wondering if that person was really honestly questioning the pronunciation of a rather odd name (one that I was off on myself) instead of what our heart reverts back to.

I can't tell you how many times I witness hearing people sit there and argue over the spelling or pronunciation of something... Don't let this get to you hon.

Anonymous said...


You say your LEA doesn't know about your hearing loss and your CI, therefore she doesn't have any understanding of what you experienced during this meeting with her. Is it possible to be upfront about describing your hearing loss and what the CI does and does not do for your hearing situations? Or do you feel that going upfront may jeopardize your job?

It would be a different thing altogether if your LEA did know about your hearing loss and CI and proceeded to criticize or correct you deliberately as a putdown in front of other people. That becomes job harassment.

I think she may be puzzled over your mispronunciation when the parents pointed that out to her. If the names are Hispanic and you don't know Spanish well, it may have very well been a misunderstanding of how to say the name.

Many hearing people tangle their tongues over foreign names as well. Can't tell you how many times I get amused on the phone when someone whose primary language is Spanish (because of the accent)is mangling my married name which is German in their best English. Hope this puts it in perspective for ya.


Tales from the CI Gal said...

Thank you Abbie and Ann,

Looking back after a good night sleep, I don't feel it was to put me down at all. It was two people tangling over a name. Battle scars and of course not being at my home school just made it worst. I do think need to bring it up to her in private. I did let the other teacher in the meeting know I was deaf because it was the first time I met her. I was very upfront with the teacher. The main reason I did not tell the LEA is because she is usually not at these meetings. I may see her once every two years.

Tales from the CI Gal said...

Oh forgot this part, I have been with my school system 14 years so I have tenure. I am usually very upfront with my hearing loss. They did a profile of me about 3 years old on television about my hearing, so I just think most know about it.