According to the U.S. Hearing Health Foundation, one in five Americans have some form of hearing loss. As well, it is estimated three out of every thousand children are born deaf, or hard of hearing. Its no wonder teachers for the deaf are in high demand!
Teaching the deaf or hard of hearing student has many challenges. After obtaining a teaching degree, you must then master American sign language, and will also need specialized training in all aspects of deaf culture.
Unlike other special education teachers, you wont be teaching students that feel they are disabled. The deaf community has very strong emotions about this and believe they are as capable as any hearing person. They simply need a more specialized education and additional assistance. This attitude is empowering for both student and teacher.
A colleague of mine mentioned a weekend retreat he had recently attended, and said he found it to be very educational and informative as well as an immense help in dealing with his deaf students. I thought this was an excellent idea and decided right there to organize a retreat for myself as well as several of my coworkers.
First I set the date, invited my workmates, then went about securing a suitable place for our weekend retreat to take place. I secured a beautiful lake side cabin with a small kitchen and three small bedrooms, perfect for myself, along with five coworkers.
Now the main room was furnished with a large table and six chairs, two arm chairs and a very large couch – the only problem was it only had three single beds, one in each room. This became my main problem, how was I going to acquire three additional beds? Also how would I get them there or even pay for them.
A friend suggested I ask for donations which was an excellent idea and I got to work right away and contacted several company’s. After a few days all my problems were solved through the generosity of Jim Eherstein who so kindly donated three rollaway beds from his page titled – Rollaway Beds For Sale: A Comparison Of The Best Folding Guest Beds – I now not only had the rollaway beds I needed, but found they were extremely easy to transport and assemble.
After having such luck with the rollaway beds I contacted several other company’s, and due to there generosity was also able to acquire stationary, bedding and food.
The retreat was a great success, we discussed many subjects, one being the radical changes both social and educational that have taken place over the course of the last 25 years. While language and culture are intertwined and passed down to us over the years, how does the deaf or hard of hearing persons interpret it and what effect does it have on them?
Communication is not a problem for the deaf when they are interacting in the deaf community, as they do not have to rely on an interpreter. This permits a great opportunity for them to develop their social and leadership skills, how we can learn from this will enable us to interact better with the deaf, and have a greater understanding of their world and how to help them blend more easily into ours.