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To Be A Role Model

was one of those Mondays. Everywhere I went hearing technology was
malfunctioning, students were upset, teachers were frustrated, and I was late
all day long. Signing out of my last school, the receptionist and I joked about
counting down the days until Friday; she was exhausted, too. Mentally composing
the list of things I needed to do once I got home, I headed towards the exit
when I was interrupted by an enthusiastic middle school girl. Beaming at me,
she introduced herself, said she had seen me around the building and asked if
she could talk to me about my job. Caught off guard, I agreed. As she ran off
to let her soccer coach know she’d be late for practice, the French teacher
approached me. “*Kara has been talking non-stop about you so I encouraged her
to talk to you,” she informed me. I let her know Kara had done just that.

the next hour Kara and I sat in an empty classroom while she asked questions
about my role as a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. She inquired about
hearing loss and hearing technology, about my educational background and
college coursework, and about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job as an
itinerant. I pulled a model cochlear implant and hearing aid from my bag as
well as a three-dimensional model of the ear, explaining each one to her. Kara
examined each piece, running her finger along the electrode array of the
cochlear implant, and gently opening and closing the battery door of the
hearing aid. Frequent exclamations of, “Cool!”
and “Wow!” escaped her.

 Kara talked about her own interest in the
field, sparked by watching me work with several students at her elementary
school and the two students in her current school. She commented on the ease with which I
interact with my students and the patience I demonstrated while re-syncing the
FM transmitter and pass-around microphone students used during history class
that afternoon. She described her fascination with the way that I am part of
the class, co-teaching, observing, and collaborating with classroom teachers.  I was impressed by Kara’s articulate questions,
but more so by her observations. I’ve always worked to be a role model for my
students and the teachers I support, but never gave much thought to the role I
play with the hearing students other than being generally friendly. Kara
reminded me that even on my worst day, someone is watching, looking to me for
inspiration, and yes, my job is pretty “cool.”


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.

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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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