June 4, 2010

My First Year As An Itinerant Teacher: What I Learned

The school year is coming to an end!! Everyone is itching to get out and enjoy several weeks off not thinking about tests, paper work, home work, pop quizzes, malfunctioning smart boards, boring meetings, boring class work, "getting to know each other" group activities, sitting with hot sweaty kids who recently came back from recess, and stinky overcooked cafeteria broccoli, to name a few.

I can't help but to reflect on my first year as an itinerant teacher for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. It went by really fast and I feel like I am just getting started and understanding what my job entails.

Here are a few things I've learned:

1) Do not waste money on school supplies.

I ended up not using half of the things I bought, especially since I have access to a lot of the same things I spent my hard earned money on. I am practically given materials I need as I travel from one school to another. 

2) I will not view myself as a 'glorified tutor'. 

I do much more than 'tutor' my students. I am an advocate. I will focus more on teaching strategies and tips my students can use to help them be successful on their own.

3) I need to talk more with the adults I work with.

They are the ones who need the most teaching, not my students. I learned that many people have absolutely  no clue what my job is about. I will need to clearly explain it to others and not assume that they know what my job entails. I need to educate others more about deafness-related issues. A lot of people have absolutely no understanding of or experience with deaf and hard of hearing people.

4) I need to explain the interpreters' roles more clearly. 

Many teachers do not understand what interpreters are supposed to do or how to work with them. Perhaps educating them more about the interpreters' roles may help keep future problems from arising.

5) Never complain out loud (you never know who is listening). 

(Me kicking the wall) "Dang it! I can't believe this school changed the schedules again!! AAAARGH! I am so sick of this!!!" Suddenly, I heard someone clear her throat behind me. It was the principal of the school witnessing my professionalism.

6) Always remain professional.

7) I must remember to 'pick my battles'.

I will have to ask myself at times, "Do you really want to get into this? Really? Turn around, and walk away until the non-issue dissipates behind you."

8) Do not ignore the fact that you may have diarrhea and proceed to see a student anyway. 

Enough said.

9) Don't tell some people you work with that you had diarrhea. No one cares to hear about your disgusting problems. Just say you were sick. 

I don't know what is wrong with me sometimes.

10) Do not write anything in an email or a letter that can later come back to bite you in the butt or be used against you in court.

Or emailed to everyone in the school district.

11) Be mindful of what you say at meetings.

12) Stop taking on too much. 

13) Do more presentations with your students.

I had so much fun with the presentation I did with one of my students about famous and successful deaf and hard of hearing people!! We learned a lot too.

14) Forget about all of the silly things and drama surrounding  your job and focus your energy on the students.

I love you guys! 
You rock! 



  1. I think these are ALL the important things for itinerant teachers! So true and funny too!

  2. I enjoyed your posting... I laughed at no. 5. Hope she found humor in the incident that you described ~wink~

  3. As a DHH teacher, I agree with many, but mostly 3, 6, and 16. You should publish a book with all this stuff we're supposed to know!

  4. Yes, I wish I was told about these things while in graduate school! But, it keeps things interesting, I suppose. In most teaching jobs we are thrown into it and left to figure things out for ourselves!


  5. It looks like you learned about many things this year. Isn't it amazing how many people will give you teaching supplies. You never really know what teaching supplies you need at the beginning. Good luck on your future endeavors.


Keep it civil.