Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I walked into the eighth-grade health class for an observation after April break. Before class officially began, a student with typical hearing commented on my tan and asked where I had been. My student came up during our conversation and handed me his transmitter, showing me that the microphone clip had broken. I told him I had another, digging thorough my troubleshooting bag to find the baggie with replacement clips. “Ms. Stinson to the rescue!” the typically hearing student said, striking a superhero pose with a smile. My student laughed along with him.

Throughout class, I filled out my observation notes, identifying the number of times and how my student advocated, clarified, contributed, and commented on what others had shared. Students were patient with him, repeating or rephrasing when he asked, and his teacher willingly provided further explanation when he expressed confusion. This was really a model class, but not atypical for this student at this point in the school year.

Grades were handed back on an oral presentation students had done. My student broke out in a huge smile after reading his rubric and hurried over to show me – a perfect 100! A nearby student wanted me to see her rubric too, as she had also done well.

Walking out that day, I started thinking about those interactions with the typically hearing students in the class. They all know me and understand my role. I’ve been a quiet presence, observing their classes throughout the year, interacting with my student when he approaches me during class, and chatting with his peers as well. My interactions with him and his amplification have normalized hearing loss to the point where everyone helps this student access what he needs without judgment.

Middle school is a difficult time for all students but for students with hearing loss, the normal feelings of self-consciousness can be compounded. Having a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing following them around observing in classes, meeting in public spaces such as the library, and collaborating with teachers has the potential to make them feel that much more different. In this situation, the teachers have set the tone in the classroom by welcoming me and openly collaborating with me. Their attitudes and interactions have helped me to integrate into the class of eighth graders which has impacted how hearing peers view my role as well as how they view my student. As the year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about how confident all of my middle school students are right now, and how comfortable they are approaching me in front of their peers. I’ve worked hard to build and maintain these relationships and it has paid off. An outsider would never know that this is the same student who told me when I started working with him that he felt ashamed and embarrassed by his hearing loss.

1 comment:

  1. I am also known as the hearing aid lady..sometimes speech lady..but whatever..as long as they know I am there to support the students and teachers.