Working with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students are challenging. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel sorry for them.
Please don’t feel sorry for them.
Why did I say that?
Deaf people are capable of doing things that we can do. We just have to make a minor adjustment to make things work for them. We as a teacher have an obligation to ensure that we teach the students what to expect in life. Not just academically but how to become self advocacy for themselves, how to handle a tough challenging situation, how to request things within our rights, and among others.
Life won’t be easy for those students when they leave high school and we have to prepare them. Therefore this is where higher expectation comes in.
First thing that you can do as a teacher is to include them in any situation, group activities, group work, recess and others. This is an important skills for them to learn by how to interact with them and how to communicate with others that doesn’t know how. This will help boost their self confidence in themselves when they realize that they can interact with other peers. A perfect way for the student to educate other student about compassion.
Second thing, have a lot of patience with them. Not everything come easy with the Deaf child. Everything has to be taught, we don’t automatically learn like hearing people do. Hearing people have advantage that we Deaf people don’t, and that is to overhear, learn from listening to others through tv, through group conversation , through people at the store, through radios, through other audio simulation. Hearing people have more exposure to information that Deaf people don’t have. Deaf people learn through visual learning and that requires a lot of showing and telling, repeat teaching and things that requires visual. Yes things will be frustration as a teacher but remember its not the child’s fault. Please keep that in mind.
Third and final thing, expectation… more specifically have a higher expectation for the Deaf child. When you expect more from the child, they will success and become proud of themselves. If you expect less from them, then they won’t become success individual down the road because the child will have to depend on others to get through life. Thats not how it should be. We should have higher expectation for them knowing they can become successful in life and career in their choice. This is where a lot of teacher struggle with the most in this area. If we have lower expectation for the child then we as a teacher failed the child not the child themselves. We failed them.
Remember… We are capable of doing things that you can do. Please allow us Deaf people to have the opportunity to thrive as well too. Don’t be the reason of our barrier in life. We will make mistakes but thats how we learn from it. Let us fail too, let us success, let us thrive.