November 8, 2012

What I Learned Sitting in a High School Classroom

After spending some time sitting in a large general high school class (in a public school setting), I got a better idea of what some of my deaf and hard of hearing students must go through.

There is a lot going on. Other students talking, conversations hard to follow, the teacher forgetting to face the deaf and hard of hearing students when talking, an uncaptioned short video, and hushed conversations taking place between students sitting behind me in the back of the room. It was very hard to concentrate and to understand most of what was being discussed.

I was somewhat intimidated by the other students and the classroom. It brought me back to when I was in high school. I felt unsure of when I should speak up. Is it okay to interrupt the teacher? Should I tell the students behind me to stop talking? When and how should I bring this up with the teacher? I was unsure because I did not want to embarrass or draw attention to the deaf and hard of hearing students at that time.

But, I am glad I took the time to sit in on the class. It was an eye opening experience.

Fortunately, I was able to talk to the teacher after class. We discussed how she can find captioned media, how noisy the classroom was, how she needs to face the deaf and hard of hearing students when talking, and what we can do to help make this classroom more accessible for them.

It got me thinking about how I always tell my students that they need to advocate for themselves while in the classroom. Now I have a better understanding that sometimes it is easier said then done. It is complicated.

The teachers and I will continue to work together and figure out ways to help the students remain successful in school. This experience encourages me to make more frequent visits to classrooms to gain a better understanding of what we can do to help and provide the best service we can.


1 comment:

  1. Anytime I think of my high school experiences my frustration with high school classrooms comes back. I remember never knowing when I could ask the teacher a question, never being able to hear the other students asking questions, not being sure if I could ask for closed captions on videos... ugh. Thank you for all the work you do helping kids out in their classrooms :)


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