Sunday, June 21, 2009
You Can't Work With Us If You Don't Join Us!
It happens often. All too often. I'll get a message that someone desperately wants to learn sign language. Perhaps they have a family member who is losing their hearing, but most want to learn to see if interpreting might be a career they would be interested in pursueing. So we set up a time and day and they come and they start to learn. I mention the social opportunities of the deaf and hard of hearing population around Grand Rapids and encourage my students to go to as many of them as possible. But what inevitably comes out as a response is almost always the same: "Oh, I'm not ready to meet deaf people."
Sometimes they're scared and other times they're just not confident enough in their signing to go, but rare is the student who writes down the information and shows up at the actual event.
What I wonder is, if they're wanting to be an interpreter, shouldn't they at least MEET a deaf person first? LOL I understand that we can be very scary (file those fangs down, now), but how can a person even study to work with another culture and another language if they don't want to meet such a person?
Now, if this only happened once in a while or at the beginning of tutoring, I would surely understand. It is intimidating. I do know this. But I'm talking about people I've worked with for six months to a year and still I'm the only Deaf person they've met. It's mind-boggling.
But, perhaps, if the deaf and hard of hearing people could put their weapons and intention to destroy aside, we're a very open group. Come meet us. Talk with us. Write with us. Whatever you need to do, but BE with us. At least that's my opinion. What's yours? Are you a hearing person who is scared to meet Deaf people? If so, why? Are you a Deaf or hard of hearing person who has experienced this? Tell us about it.
Posted by Michele at 1:23 PM