Posted in Miscellaneous

My New Dream: Deaf Education

Hello all! I hope you are having a wonderful beginning to the summer, whether you are in Provo or back at home working (like me).

This last semester, I had the pleasure of taking the class English 313, Advanced Writing for Elementary Education majors. I recommend this class highly, although it is not a required class for the major. In this class, we not only learned about writing well enough to publish, but also about helping students develop a love of learning. Our projects included a reading/writing lesson plan, a research paper concerning some aspect of language arts, and a resume for a future teaching job–all very useful for the future. In addition, the teacher scheduled conferences with each of us so she could give individual attention to our projects and help us correct anything needing alterations.

For my research paper, I had the idea of incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) into an English classroom. I have taken ASL 101 and 102, and I loved them so much that I had the idea of incorporating ASL into my future classroom. However, I found as I was doing research that there was no research on this, but that the big issue surrounding ASL students is teaching deaf children English.I had never thought about it before, but as English and ASL are two very different languages, deaf children have to be taught English when they enter school. This proves much more difficult than it sounds. For one thing, English is mainly a spoken language which makes it hard for deaf children who can’t hear it and only encounter it in writing. For another, it’s hard to learn a second language when you don’t have a developed first language. Since most deaf children have hearing parents, they often don’t have as developed skills in ASL as they should.

This subject fascinates me. I love the idea of teaching elementary-age children, but the idea of teaching deaf elementary school children English attracts me even more. However, I would have to become fluent in ASL, which is easier said than done, especially since the classes are 4 credits and I can’t fit that into my schedule. For now, I am just going to work on getting my degree in Elementary Education and then proceeding to get another degree in deaf education from another college. I will keep you all updated on how things work out for me. Is there some area of education that you are passionate about that you are excited to teach? I would love to hear from you!

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Posted in Miscellaneous

Fun Classes

Each time I have registered for classes, I have made sure to take a sort of “stress-relief” class. It’s a  class that isn’t too time-consuming or required, but is fun! BYU offers lots of classes that can provide a break from regular classes. One of my friends took private cello lessons for fun. She had never played the cello before, but was interested in it and has a talent for learning to play instruments, so she took it as a class! One of my friends took a home foods preparation class, which included a lecture and a lab. Here is a pie that she made (and shared!). This was only one of the many yummy things she got to make. Even your roommates can benefit from you taking this class!

Another one of my friends took both racquetball and volleyball classes. He loved it and was a pro at volleyball when we played with other friends. My first semester at BYU, I took a yoga class and it was great! It was very beneficial for me to take at least two hours a week to de-stress and relax. My second semester, I took a country Western/square dance class. It was very fun!

I want to challenge you to think about some of these options as you choose classes next semester. Don’t be afraid to try new things and take some time away from your busy week to relax and do something that you truly enjoy. These classes tend to fill up quickly, so think fast! Have you taken advantage of fun classes that BYU offers? I would love to hear what you have participated in–I need some ideas for next semester!

Posted in Miscellaneous

Adaptive Aquatics: A Fun Service Opportunity

One thing I love about BYU is all the fun ways to serve, such as the fun service group Adaptive Aquatics. I had the opportunity to work with this group as part of my Biology class last semester, and I am so glad I did. Adaptive Aquatics is a program to help special needs children learn motor skills while having fun through partnering the children with volunteers. There are two options to work with: Adaptive Aquatics and Gym Kids. In Adaptive Aquatics, volunteers swim and play with their partners. In Gym Kids, volunteers and children play with bowling pins, yoga balls, basketballs, and even a parachute that the school provides.
I myself only did Adaptive Aquatics for two weeks before I switched over to Gym Kids. I had a blast in Gym Kids. One time, my cousin and I were paired with a little girl who only wanted piggyback rides and to play tag. Whew! My cousin and I were worn out by the end of that session. Another time, I worked with three rambunctious boys who tied a bunch of scarves together as a rope, then had me tie each of them up. I would tie them extremely loosely, so that all they had to do was tug and then they were free. Once the prisoner was free, the others would chase him and bring him back and it would be the next boy’s turn. I can only imagine what their teachers were thinking as they watched me tie their students up, but nobody interfered, so we kept playing.
My favorite session, however, occurred when I was partnered with a boy in a wheelchair. His teacher took him out and put him in my lap. He couldn’t talk, but he had the best giggle in the world. I put him on top of a yoga ball and bounced him around, and he loved it. The best though, was when I sung him the Tigger song (“the wonderful thing about Tiggers…”) and he would giggle the whole time. I don’t remember his name, and he almost definitely doesn’t remember me at all, but at that moment, I loved him with all of my heart.
Before I did Adaptive Aquatics, I didn’t really know how to treat special needs kids . I hadn’t really had much experience with them, and they seemed kind of scary. However, as I got to work with them more and more, I realized that they are just like other children and don’t need to be isolated or treated condescendingly.
So if you have time from  11 to 11:40 AM on Thursdays or Fridays, head on down to Adaptive Aquatics in the Richards Building pool and gym number 146. I believe any person planning on working with children in the future should participate in this program. For more information, email byuadaptiveaquatics@gmail.com. Here is also a video for your viewing pleasure:
Posted in Miscellaneous

Respect

After donating blood a while ago, I was sitting with two other students. We were introducing ourselves and in the course of our conversation I told them what my major is (Elementary Education). It was interesting to note their different responses. One of them did not look very impressed and told me I should instead be a junior high or high school teacher. And let’s be honest; I think a lot of us pursuing elementary education or other teaching degrees have been confronted with people who seem to think that they are “weak” majors. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to think that myself. But I was flattered by the other student’s response. He went out of his way to respectfully remark how important Elementary Education is.

I think that in order for our school system to reach where it needs to be, we need more people like that second student, who really respect teaching. I don’t say this to try to get more praise for myself, but rather in general, teaching needs to hold a more esteemed position in our society if we want our school system to flourish. When teaching becomes more esteemed, more people are drawn to it, it becomes more competitive, and teachers are more motivated to do well. In my human development class this past semester, we discussed how Asian schools (who are currently doing better than US schools) differ from us. One of the big differences is that teachers hold a more esteemed position in their society. I think this is one of the keys to improving our schools.

So how do we create more respect for teachers? In my opinion, our society shows respect largely by how much we pay a profession. We either need to pay teachers more or come up with something else to make sure teachers are getting the respect they deserve for the key role they play in our future. What are your ideas for promoting respect for teachers?