A Deaf instructor's journey in ASL classroom

Deaf ASL instructors are passionate about their language, culture, and history. They love teaching students ASL (American Sign Language).

There are moments that culturally Deaf ASL teachers may experience some similar patterns in ASL classroom.

These below are some overly exaggerations with a bit lining of truth. This entertainment is intended for Deaf ASL instructors. If you're an ASL student, enjoy it, nonetheless.

Unlike any spoken second language classes, this won't happen in your classroom. You as an ASL instructor know exactly who is listening.

You don't use voice in ASL teaching. You sign and randomly ask one of your students a question or make a conversation with one of them.

A student, thinking safely, asks another classmate what the ASL sign is. Their classmate produces (or pronounces) it wrong. Then, you offer to correct them.

It's not unusual to find a student who trustfully asks another classmate for an ASL sign and received the wrong information.

Though students may be, you're not stupid that they are using voice behind your back.

We are familiar with this insider joke "We have four eyes." No, we're not talking about the eyes and eyeglasses, but four eyes -- two on the front and two on the back.

Even, at some points in your career, a student may suspect that you're really hearing, pretending to be deaf. It takes a while for them to confirm that you're actually Deaf.

I once had a student "K" who took my four ASL courses. In ASL level 2, she confessed to me that in ASL level 1, in her "nightmare", she dreamed that I was hearing, teaching by voice in ASL class; she was stunned. In addition, the way I caught students using voice, noticed environmental noises, and such in classroom, she questioned (it's good to question!) whether I was really Deaf. Like I said, we have four eyes. She began to suspect and studied me till she confirmed that I was truly Deaf. When I learned of her experience, I laughed hard.

That being said, you have a knack, sharp iguana-like, bee-like, eagle-like eye that you can catch students whenever they use their voice in class. Or, whenever they eye on other students' test/exam papers.

Sometimes I may let them know; otherwise I usually mentally note for their participation mark without letting them know or letting them think they get away with it.

A detachable voicebox would be really nice when a student regularly uses voice in class.

Ouch! Uh, not like this harsh way. Just take a student's voicebox and gently place it in a soft silk-laced chestbox until the end of class. In real life, we simply tell students to leave their voice in the hallway. Just like using a phone call or texting in class is disrespectful.

You may feel as embarrassed as this one when you accidentally flipped out your eyeglasses, chalk, or remote control in front of ASL students while signing.

Good thing, it's a rare as you're so competent with hands or visual-spatial coordination, unless you're clumsy by nature.

On the other hand, your students are deeply impressed by how you effortlessly grabbed when something fell out of your hand. At least, it's more common than the one above in my cases.

For example, a yellow rattle accidentally dropped out of my dominant hand during the receptive exam. But, I gracefully grabbed the loop string of the rattle with my pinkie with little movement. The students chuckled and I smiled back. The odd of this success is one in 100. Maybe just a luck.

Got a story of your own? I'd love to heye more!

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