Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 193 - Class

Tonight was my first night of ASL (American Sign Language) class. Needless to say I went, as I wouldn't have anything to write about in this post if I didn't, but I was truly afraid to go! And to make matters worse, as registration for class was the "night of", this meant I wasn't committed to going as I hadn't prepaid. Of course, this only helped me feel more comfortable about potentially backing out but after much debate about cost, and thinking "there's always next semester", I forced myself to go.

I didn't think much of the dilapidated building that looked like an ignored relic from the 60's, and I was even more unimpressed when the teacher advised us that if we had to go to the bathroom, it'd be better to use the gas station down the street. What had I gotten myself in to for the next ten weeks? But as the saying goes, it's "what's on the inside that counts", right?

Thankfully on the inside, was one of the most amazing teachers I've ever met. Sarcastic and very opinionated, but so fun, energetic and passionate about what she does, Jennifer made the night fly by. And to top it off, she can teach. I've met quite a number of people that love what they do, but can't share it, so to meet a teacher that can actually teach and convey what it is they are passionate about is beyond refreshing to me (especially after my last drawing class/teacher fiasco - ugh)!

Across from me sat another student named Lynn, and when I hogged the purple marker to make my name plate, she complained that it was her favorite color, too! After name tags, introductions were given and the background of people and the reasons they were attending only made class all the more interesting. My classmates included, but are not limited to, deaf education teachers, people with family members with hearing/medical issues, hobbies, school credit, and even a non-hearing student who can speak fluent English but doesn't feel a part of the hearing or deaf world. It will be interesting to see how each of us learn, and how many of us survive the ten week course, packed with 50-60 new vocabulary words a night, and quizzes every week.

The highlights of the night were hearing our teacher's background, meeting new people, and of course diving right in to the sign alphabet and basic vocabulary. So far, I know my letters (mostly) and can count to ten (it's not as easy as it sounds!) and I can even call you dumb AND stupid in ASL (money well spent!). On the drive home, I practiced signing street names, license plates, road signs, and restaurant names. I can only imagine what the people driving next to me thought as I drove with one hand on the wheel while the other hand was just signing away. Hopefully there are no laws against signing and driving!

Of course, who knows where this class will lead me, but as I mentioned during introductions that one of my reasons for attending is so I can better communicate with a doggie client, the teacher mentioned that just as there are seeing eye dogs for the blind, there are trained hearing dogs too. Could I have found my calling that was just waiting for more education? Only time will tell. In the mean time, I've got insults and alphabet letters to study!


  1. sounds like fun, it crosses my mind that it may also alter your interaction with your canine clients. It always seems that people that sign are more physically and facially expressive, I wonder if if that will improve canine understanding of commands ?

  2. John, I agree about signing influencing expression!!! I already see it happening, and I am hoping, if anything, it helps me become more aware of body language, and perhaps an even more interesting teacher if I can teach with my whole body!