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   Hear Me Out Blog   

Reflections

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.

Hear Me Out

The Hear Me Out blog provides unique resources for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It's a forum for itinerant teachers of the deaf to share their experiences as they grow as professionals! It is produced by Clarke's Mainstream Services team as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

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About the Hear Me Out Blog

Itinerant teachers of the deaf (TOD) provide direct services to children with hearing loss in mainstream schools, consultation to their teachers, and professional development to school staff. Itinerant TODs travel to a child’s neighborhood school to provide one-on-one educational support, foster listening and spoken language development, and help children build social and self-advocacy skills. They also act as a liaison between the family and their mainstream school. Hear Me Out provides a unique forum for these special teachers to share their experiences as they grow as professionals.

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

1 Comment
Unknown

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.

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Hear Me Out Blog

About the Author

Heather Stinson (CAGS, MED, S/LP-A) received her master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from Smith College in 2006 and a graduate certificate in Children, Families, and Schools (with a concentration in research methodology) from the University of Massachusetts in 2012. In addition to her many years of experience working with children with hearing loss who communicate using listening and spoken language, Heather has also worked as a preschool classroom teacher.

Heather has presented both locally and nationally on issues related to mainstreaming students with hearing loss and is a contributing author to Odyssey magazine. Heather currently works as an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing at Clarke Mainstream Services, a program of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

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