Eastmont School District's Deaf and Hard of Hearing program provides services for students who qualify in the area of hearing loss or deafness for students identified from Pre-school through High School, or age 21, depending on the individual student's needs. The program is staffed with a Teacher of the Deaf, skilled Educational Sign Language Interpreters, and Speech Language Pathologists. Our philosophy is to work with families and others as a team to assess each student's individual needs and design a program that allows maximum growth and success for the students.
For Teachers: What to Expect When Your Student With A Hearing Loss Has A Sign Language Interpreter.
Meet briefly with the interpreter beforehand. This is the best time to introduce yourself and discuss positioning needs and seating preference for both the interpreter and student.
- Recognize the duties and responsibilities of the interpreter. The educational interpreter is vital to ensure access to the educational content. While it may be nice to have an additional adult in the classroom, their qualifications and skills are unique than those compared to the typical educational paraprofessional. Educational Interpreters have received specialized training that focuses on student learning. Please consider the interpreters as professionals with responsibilities first to accessing the audible information within the classroom.
- Provide space for the interpreter. Please note that interpreters often do not have their “own” space to safely maintain personal items (coats, bags, keys, phones, etc.) Please try to secure an area that the interpreter can maintain as “theirs” for this purpose.
- Provide the interpreter with information necessary to complete access. This can be done by providing necessary vocabulary lists, textbooks, worksheets that will be used during the class. This allows the interpreter to prepare the information for clearer access for the student as well.
- Positioning within the sightline of the deaf student. This means the interpreters will sit or stand as close to the source of information so the deaf person can pick up on facial expressions and body language from their hearing counterpart. Exactly where the interpreter stands or sits depends on the situation and communication needs. If you are uncomfortable with an interpreter “shadowing” you, please feel free to convey this to the interpreter so they can adjust proximity as appropriate.
- Provide verbal instruction as you normally would. Don’t be overly conscious of your rate and volume of speech. The interpreter will let you know if they need you to slow down or clarify anything. If you have a classroom with amplification, please use this as you normally would.
- Avoid private conversations. Please remember that the interpreter’s job is to provide access to everything that is heard. If you need to speak with the interpreter privately, please arrange to do so when the student is not in the room.
- Maintain eye contact with the student. This is a very important so the student feels like he/she is your student (not the interpreter’s). Please direct all questions or comments directly to the student (not the interpreter). If other students interrupt your conversation, signal that you'll be with them in just a moment, and then finish your conversation.
- Avoid asking the interpreter's opinion. Interpreters are required to follow a code of professional conduct that requires confidentiality and impartiality. If you require information about the student’s learning or understanding of the information, speak with the deaf student directly and allow the interpreter to convey your question in the same manner in which it is being asked.
- One person should speak at a time. It's very common in classroom settings for students to speak out answers or speak over each other, hold side conversations, or allow no time between comments. The classroom interpretation's success depends on the ability of the interpreter to hear each comment individually. Please remind students to be mindful of this occurrence and encourage discussions in a more organized manner.
- Any concerns relating to the interpreter. Please direct any concerns with the interpreter to determine if issues can be readily resolved. Otherwise, please direct all concerns to the District Teacher of the Deaf/HH.
Responsibilities of the Interpreter
The educational interpreter is vital to ensure access to the educational content. While it may be nice to have an additional adult in the classroom, their qualifications and skills are unique than those compared to the typical educational paraprofessional. Educational Interpreters have received specialized training that focuses on student learning.
- Facilitate communication within the education setting, including teaching, student response, peer response, side conversations, anything that is audibly accessible.
- Assist student in understanding material by expanding explanation. Any confusion by the student should be carried out by the classroom teacher.
- Facilitate best setting for interpretation.
- Be prepared with any classroom materials that are provided in advance.
- Pursue professional growth and development.
- Work as an educational team player that directly involves the student with hearing loss.