Friday, June 28, 2019

Wish for 2019/2020 School year....

Today I am thinking about the upcoming school year. I know..why would I be doing that while on summer break? I want to put my wish for next year out into the universe.

I wish for the next year that the administration will look at each student as an individual and not a number. That they look at the needs of EACH individual child and not try to lump them together to save money. I know...especially in this budget.

As for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) students, that means that one interpreter for multiple students is not suitable for anyone. DHH students have different language needs, and one interpreter can not interpret multiple ways for comprehension during a class. It's physically impossible. Because of the shortfall, the interpreter ends up trying to select a "general" language mode, knowing that some of the students aren't going to understand. It's heartbreaking.

Middle school is hard enough. Going from the comfort of one teacher for most of your day to multiple teachers can cause anxiety adding another barrier. Some students are learning how to use an interpreter. Yes, they had interpreters in elementary school. At our middle school, we tend to swap out interpreters, so the students see a variety of language models. This mirrors real-world interpreting experiences they will experience as an adult. It can sound harsh, but honestly, it has worked out great, in my opinion.

So...while I don't have any pull in the district, and I know that district interpreters aren't getting paid competitively in comparison to the private sector so getting interpreters in the schools is hard. Also, the use of agency interpreters is tough on consistency in the classroom as well. I'm not talking about those agencies that have long term contracts with schools, I'm talking about the "who is showing up today?" services that happens because of staffing shortages in the schools. Happens with teacher vacancies also...again...heartbreaking.

To sum up and step off my soapbox, please, look at the whole child and their needs versus how can we satisfy the law in the cheapest way possible while putting their education needs for success in the background.

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