Please excuse the title of the post, the first two words are totally unrelated. I’ll explain in a bit.
First…it is finally official. I am an adjunct professor at one of the universities here and will be teaching ASL. I picked up copies of my class’s text books and will start reviewing the curriculum. I even have a badge. I am really excited about this and hope that I can inspire some students to keep learning the language. I hope the class will be interesting, honest, studious, but entertaining whenever possible. Just whatever it takes to pour the knowledge into those young brains and fuel the passion in those rare students that instructors love to see.
I also found out at the faculty four-hour
boot camp meeting that we can take one free course per quarter. Our amazing boss mentioned that they even have wine tasting classes. If I were even remotely capable of staying sober after two small sips of alcoholic beverages, I would so be there. Since I cannot, I am considering taking a yoga class or something relaxing. In the fall, I may consider slowly inching my way toward a masters in psychology. At some point, way down the road, I would like to resume my efforts toward making the mental health field better for the Deaf population. For right now though, I have a very young son at home and hope to have another in the near future. My children come first, and I know that when the time is right for me to pursue my academic interests that it will happen. The intellectual side of me is perfectly content embracing the challenges of teaching others the language. I am looking forward to teaching.
At another local college where I work now, I am tutoring several students in ASL. I really cherish my one-on-one time with students because it lets me concentrate on their specific needs which in turn helps progress faster. I LOVE progress. It gives me goosebumps when a struggling student I am tutoring comes and tells me that they totally aced their last exam. Another example, a student who is frustrated and about to give up learning ASL came to me for help. This student has made tremendous progress, which boosted her signing confidence, which then inspired her to make more progress. Its a beautiful thing to see.
At the meeting, it was mentioned that we shouldn’t comment much on the student himself, but on the actual signing. In the classroom, I totally agree. When tutoring, however, I disagree. I think some flexibility toward this approach is ideal. The reason is because I have seen time and time again how much encouragement helps students. Think about it…if a student is coming to his instructor for tutoring or extra help, they’re likely frustrated. Frustrated students are not in learning mode. My job is to get them back into learning mode. To help them understand that some failure is to be expected. Its just part of learning.
While tutoring, I don’t spoon-feed them. I bombard them with the language to help them develop an instinct for grammar. One of my favorite things is when a student signs a sentence incorrectly, then stops themselves saying that it feels “too English” or awkward. In my experience, it is always the turning point that marks the transition from just signing vocabulary to true fluency. I get so excited about it, and most of the time the student doesn’t even realize that they’ve just made a huge step forward.
Anyhow…I’ll keep updating on this. In the meantime…potty training is still a game of luck. However, Nathan is really into football, baseball, basketball, and golf. He can throw a toy football in spiral formation. He can hit a golfball in a full (one-handed) swing and score impressive basketball throws. I think we have another ball star in the making! 🙂