Talking to Second Graders

In Reading to Students, I discussed a bad experience in reading to my daughter’s second grade class and how reluctant I was doing it for my current second grader (for four more days). I e-mailed the teacher who said I could talk to the class on Thursday, May 17.

And so I did. Those of you responding to that post — thanks for the encouragement. I collected stuff to show the students and printed cards with the fingerspelling alphabet and numbers. The talk began with an introduction and my background. Then came show and tell including a yellowing TTY, Sidekick III, hearing aids, and my cochlear implant.

I opened the floor to questions. I loved this one from one student, “Do you have to eat special food?” It goes to show how important it is to educate people on differences. However, some with Meniere’s Disease find that eating or restricting food can improve their condition. I also told the story of Paul riding an elevator with a new co-worker who hadn’t met me yet but knew I was deaf. The co-worker asked if I could read braille, which I can’t. I’m amazed how people can feel the different dots.

I even shared my bad experience with my daughter’s second grade class. My son interrupted that story — the kids asked me to finish the story. After answering questions, I passed out the fingerspelling cards and the kids practiced fingerspelling with partners. They looked like they were enjoying themselves. I felt awkward sitting there while they partnered up. But the alternative scared me more — going around and asking them if they need help. I asked the kids near me and couldn’t understand what the girl said. So I stayed put until it was time for lunch.

My youngest, a four-year-old, has been learning fingerspelling and grabbed a card for himself. It’s cool watching him make letters. I may not speak ASL, but I appreciate fingerspelling and my family telling each other I love you in sign language.


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  1. I think educating children while they are young about different types of people, getting them confortable with all the variations of humanity, will go alog way towards ensuring the future happiness of mankind.

    • Karen Mayes on May 21, 2007 at 11:16 am
    • Reply

    Good job on educating the 2nd graders… who’d then educate their families about deafness, etc… :o) By then you’d have touched MANY people.

  2. Aww…. what a nice story. I’m happy you did it!

  3. I’m sure the second-graders learned a lot!

    • Lantana on May 23, 2007 at 12:13 pm
    • Reply

    I loved your term, “yellowing tty”. Mine is not yellow — yet, but it is covered with alot of dust!
    I am so glad that I have the ability use and understand modern technology. Not everyone my age can!
    ‘Love your blog!

  4. HAhahaha ‘do you have to eat special food’? 🙂 thats so CUTE!! 🙂 Im delighted you were brave enough to do it, well done 🙂 are your kids giving you feedback on whether the other kids spoke about you after you left?? they are not getting teased I bet?? Well done again! kiddies can be sarey little people and you did well 🙂

  5. One mom, who is a friend of mine, did tell me her son said I did a great job and he had fun doing the fingerspelling at the end.
    My son said nothing has happened since — and that’s also a good thing because it shows they’re not talking about my being different in a negative way.

  6. Thats great, it must feel wonderful to have done it now 🙂 thats great news 🙂 🙂

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