April 5, 2012

What Teaching Reminds Me

When I am teaching as an itinerant teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students attending public schools, I am reminded of several things on a daily basis.

I am reminded of diversity. There are different hearing losses, different ways of communicating, different languages, different ways of learning, and different cultures, families, and backgrounds. No one is like me, grew up like me, or will learn like I do. We are not the same, except in that we just all want to be happy and loved.

I am reminded that not everyone has been so lucky to been able to pick up language effortlessly from the moment they were born. The students working hard on understanding the language used by the general population of where they live remind me of this. Students who did not have the advantage of naturally developing a first language remind me of this as they work on understanding phrases that are usually easily understood by other students 3 or 4 grades younger than them.

I am reminded that there is no such thing as stupid when it comes to learning. I am always inspired and encouraged when a student finally masters a skill or concept, even though it may seem very simple to many others who can learn the same thing within seconds. The students who finally mastered a seemingly easy skill worked harder than most people I know.

I am reminded of how hard work can pay off. It can be truly rewarding and life changing.

I am also reminded that not everything is perfect or will work out the way we would like it to.

I am reminded that failing can be the best thing that can happen to someone. But, it is always sad, at first.

Most importantly, I am always reminded that I do not know everything and that I have a lot to learn.



  1. This is a wonderful post. It is thoughts like this that make you an amazing teacher and it was such a pleasure to read your thoughts and insights. Wow!

  2. Aaw, Gary, thanks for your kind words! I enjoy reading your insights and experiences as a teacher as well. Keep it up! :)

  3. I second Gary's comment. What a wonderful post. I hope my daughter, who has hearing loss, is lucky enough to have teachers, throughout her education, with such a great attitude towards the struggles and achievements of their students and themselves.

  4. Thank you Kate. :) I wish your daughter the best.

  5. I agree with the others. I've been teaching for 12 yrs and these past two yrs have jaded my perspective of the beauty of this job. I started as a itinerant and I loved seeing the diversity, the "small" but huge gains, the feeling that even when kids failed, there was a bit of success in the failure. Thank you for this reminder. Working with extremists, from both ends of the spectrum has made me question if I should remain an educator. Thank you for being transparent and most importantly proving the critics wrong about us DHH educators. I'm so glad you are my colleague

  6. Thank you, April. I do sometimes wonder how teaching will be several years down the road. Being a deaf/hh educator can be the most frustrating job. Anytime you want to talk, contact me. :-)


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