Struggles in the Classroom: The Case of a Deaf Student Printer Friendly
Darvl E. Hansen and Diane Gillespie
Walking into the classroom with her sign language interpreter, Tracy sat down at her desk. She noticed that Mr. Dogan glanced at her briefly, looked at the interpreter, smiled, and then quickly glanced away. Tracy signed to her interpreter, “He know me and you here?” “Yeah,” her interpreter signed. “Finish, send paper ‘protocol’ inform teacher about you, me.” “What mean ‘protocol?'” Tracy asked. “Paper explain how communicate smoothly with deaf–like–talk straight to you, not me,” her interpreter signed. “Did he read it?” Tracy thought to herself.
Mr. Dogan stood up, walked forward, and sat on the edge of the big desk. Wearing wire-rimmed glasses, he looked to Tracy like a writer. As he welcomed the students to his sociology class, Tracy thought that he seemed very nice. He smiled, making eye contact with almost everyone, even those who straggled in late and sat in the back row. Though Tracy knew what it felt like to be present but not seen, like a shadow, she was working on being assertive and was determined that she would come out of any shadows in this class.
Tracy moved her eyes between Mr. Dogan and her interpreter, whose hands were now flying. “In this class you will be doing many short writing assignments, some of which will be more formal, but some will be first-person narratives,” Mr. Dogan explained. “I have been working both here at Metro, and at the last college where I taught, on a project called Writing across the Curriculum. It’s a project on many campuses that encourages professors from all disciplines to teach writing skills so that teaching writing doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of English teachers. I think that I have found writing topics that will allow you to write about familiar topics in ways that will stretch your thinking.” He smiled as he emphasized “stretch your thinking” and looked directly at Tracy, who smiled back at him.