I’m finally breaking the long silence, and I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately. September has been a rather busy month with work, and on top of that I’ve had a few serious personal issues lately, not mentioning the police who had to get involved… but anyway, I’m okay. After a rather long, difficult week, I had the best morning today and I’ve not smiled as much in a while! Here’s why!
My friend S is a Primary School teacher and her class are learning about sound and vibrations in Science and she asked me if I would be interested in going to visit the school and talking to them about deaf awareness and how it links to the topic. I happily took her offer, and because the day went that well, I’m considering volunteering there on a Friday!
I did have doubts before I went in, because I do struggle to understand children as they can be quiet, mumbling or very hyper and impossible to lipread. I know this from being a lifeguard/swimming teacher, as I don’t wear my hearing aids in the pool and I can’t hear a thing they say, so I thought that some of this might carry on through the classroom.
I certainly proved myself wrong, as when I first went in, I was greeted with a whole bundle of happy, cheerful faces and ‘hellos’ from all the children. One little boy even drew me a picture and gave me a candy bar, how sweet was that! I’ll definitely keep them safe!
S explained to them that when they were talking to me, that they needed to look at me so I could read their lips. Eventually they all picked up on it!
The morning started with Phonics and they were all very interactive, well behaved and concentrating. As the morning went on I think they started to relax more and showed their true selves, still a lovely group! Later on, I did a presentation on Deafness (simplified for them) and they were very interested and took it very well. Some of them asked some brilliant questions afterwards. Throughout the whole presentation, I couldn’t stop smiling as I’ve never met a group of amazing children.
S then moved onto the Science aspect, learning about vibrations with rulers, elastic bands and by ‘blowing raspberries’ etc, and it was quite interesting, considering I’ve forgotten most of my Science from School! During the morning, I was in charge of rewarding stickers to the students for concentrating or tidiest table or good work etc, it was so hard to choose as they were all equally good! I was sat at a table with a group of children and one sweet little boy was showing me everything they had to do, like read the Learning Objectives, or to write down the sentences on the board. I felt like I was back at school!
Breaktime came and I had a chance to meet the other teachers, who were so genuine and lovely! Assembly was after, and when they all sat down in the hall, I was surprised that there weren’t many in the whole school compared to mine! It was a little bit less pressure as I didn’t have to speak as loudly if there were more students. I delivered another Deaf Awareness talk, about myself, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, how to communicate and also getting S to do role play with me. For example we’d be in a queue in a shop, and S was behind me saying ‘excuse me excuse me’, but I wasn’t hearing her… and we asked the children – what should she have done? They were great at coming up with answers, like ‘tap her’, ‘move in front’! At the end, when they all said ‘Thank you E’, it really made it all worth it, I felt so proud!
Reading/handwriting time was next, and I went around to listen to children reading aloud to me. S said to the class, “Doesn’t E look like she already belongs with us?!” – how cute!
Next, as it’s ‘Harvest Time’, they all had to create an acrostic poem about harvest, and I was working with one of the groups who needed that extra bit of support and when one little boy almost gave up because he ‘couldn’t finish it in time’, I tried my hardest to help him and to get a smile back on his face was amazing! S tried to call my name from across the room, and as I didn’t hear, a group of them came running over to me like a competition to see who could get my attention first! Hilarious!
We had a photo taken as a whole class, and this is one I’ll definitely cherish, especially the little boy who ‘helped me’ in Science, he sat on my lap! The time came when I had to leave, because it was lunchtime and some whined: ‘we don’t want you to go’, others gave me a hug, some said ‘come back’!
Writing this just now, I still can’t wipe the smile off my face so thank you all for making it worth it, and I never even thought once about the problems that occurred over the last few days. I’ll definitely be returning to volunteer!
Have you fellow deafies had any similar experiences, which have made you proud?
Love E x