Why Do I Teach?

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Why Do I Teach?

Dear students, parents, and staff,

I live, breathe, and eat American Sign Language. I have been completely Deaf since birth. American Sign Language is my native language and I take pride in my Deaf Culture. There’s a reason why I capitalize the letter “D” in the word deaf. I want it to stand out. I’m not going to hide it. In fact, the Deaf Community invented that approach which I have adopted as well. We belong to a beautiful culture due to our shared language, beliefs, core values, traditions, philosophies, and so much more.

Why did I become a teacher? That is an excellent question. When I was about sixteen years old, I took a Driver’s Education course during a summer camp program for Deaf high school students. Often, I found myself tutoring many students to pass their most difficult subjects. I encountered a girl who was several years older than me from another country with very minimal exposure to English or American Sign Language. Through blood, sweat, and tears, I worked with her. I tried to find a way to break down that language barrier. I drew concrete pictures, used live people as visual examples, and so forth. I worked with her all day until the sun went down. The next day, she came back to me with tears in her eyes. She was jumping up and down with joy. She exclaimed that she had passed her test. The Driver Education teacher, who was Deaf, saw our conversation. She told me to become a teacher. In awe, I looked at her and a fire inside my heart was lit. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to teach. I enrolled into a two-year teacher’s prep course that was offered at my high school during my junior and senior year. I embarked to college to attain a teaching degree in American Sign Language because I love languages. I love breaking down communication barriers. I love promoting cultural diversity and sharing that passion with my students. I hope to help them achieve a sense of self-awareness about their abilities. I hope they will be enriched with the benefits of learning American Sign Language which has its own grammar rules, structures, and linguistic features. I hope they will appreciate and respect diversity. I hope they will gain a sense of pride in our diverse society.