I Saw the Sign

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello. My name is Sara. Nice to meet you.

This year I am a teacher to seven deaf and hard of hearing students, all of whom speak American Sign Language. While I do have an interpreter and a DHH teacher in my room with these students there is still a barrier to our communication. So these next six weeks I am enrolled in an ASL class, learning basic phrases and concepts that I can use with my students. I have to say that I am having so much fun! I love learning new things and I am taking the course with another teacher friend so we are having a blast learning new signs we can use in our classroom.

What has been super cool is how interested my hearing students are in learning the language as well. We had over 30 students show up for the first ASL Club meeting that is being taught by one of the deaf teacher assistants. He didn't let us talk the whole class. It was unbelievable to watch 30 6th graders sit in silence for an hour practicing signs, you could just see the excitement on their faces. 

Hopefully by the end of these six weeks I will be able communicate somewhat conversationally with my DHH students. So far I know my numbers up to fifteen and can finger spell most words. I can sign basic greetings like "Hello" and "Good Morning/Afternoon" and I've got some teacher-y phrases as well like "Where's your homework?" and  "Open your book" The most amazing thing I've learned so far is how different this language is from English and how much work a deaf person most go through to understand what you are saying to them. Also, English speakers are sooooo wordy! In ASL, you basically speak in nouns, verbs, or concepts. It is difficult to try and not sign exactly what you're thinking. For instance I might say, "I cooked bacon in the kitchen" however I would sign "Bacon cook" My hand placement would indicated the past tense and that would be it. It is definitely interesting.

Well I am off to bed, my brain is on overload after learning over a hundred new signs tonight!

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