“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” –Roger Staubach
During my first weekend here on shore, I biked a few miles to town and back, explored some secluded beach spots, and watched the sun set over Buzzard’s Bay. However delightful all those events were, I’d have to say that the highlight of my weekend was the ASL workshop I hosted last night. Surprisingly, almost all of the students in my program attended, along with several from C-264.
Naturally, I started off the workshop by introducing the alphabet, and then taught some important signs such as who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then, I left it up to the students to lead the workshop. In only thirty minutes, we had covered the signs for 1 to 21, the days of the week, a few animals, food, and sports. I think I taught over 100 signs!! Although they probably forgot most of the signs, the workshop ignited an energy among the students to roll up their sleeves and teach their hands some new tricks!
After the workshop concluded, many of them expressed enthusiasm for further workshops. Of course, I gladly accepted, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next workshop! One of my interpreters decided to print out a few copies of the alphabet for those who wanted to take it with them. I didn’t think anything of it, but the pile was empty by the time the workshop was over! Furthermore, when I arrived home, I saw that one of my housemates had one copy pinned up over his desk! I can’t say I wasn’t impressed.
Surprisingly, I found another thing to be impressed by today! During my Maritime History & Culture (MHC) class, my professor mentioned some aspects of our upcoming project, which would consist of our class breaking down into groups and acting as members of the Tourism Board for Woods Hole, MA. We would have to develop a 60-second video clip that highlights the perks of this town and thus encourages tourism in the area. The professor continued, saying that one of the requirements of our videos is to include…..wait for it….. CAPTIONS!!
During the one year and half of my time as a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, an university with almost 2,000 Deaf students who have long received Deaf services, never have I ever witnessed a professor impose such a requirement!! I knew of a few Deaf students in the Film & Animation program who literally begged their teachers to offer some kind of incentive to encourage students to caption their videos, but as far as I know, they’ve been unsuccessful. With that said, I am truly blown away by the exceptional thoughtfulness of the professors here, and especially because they’ve never had a Deaf student in their classroom ever!
I had an interesting/funny encounter this morning with my roommate. I just finally set up my vibrating alarm clock last night, and I carefully made sure to turn off the volume, and to only leave the vibration on. However, when I woke up this morning, I was greeted by my roommate wildly running over to turn off the clock. She then texted me, “Is there any way you can turn off the volume on your alarm?” Confused, I decided to re-check my alarm’s volume level. Sure enough, instead of turning the volume off, I had put it on full blast!! Oops… I had to reassure her that the world wasn’t ending, nor were there any intruders.. It was just a silly mistake I made.
Another interesting encounter I had today occurred with a male in my group (one of only three!), who was assigned to partake in a discussion with me about the different effects that wind and temperature have on the vital growth of plankton in the ocean. Although my interpreter was sitting right front of me, he opted to use his laptop to communicate with me directly. I responded to him using ASL and my interpreter voicing over, but he continued the conversation on laptop. I can’t think of a reason why he’d do that, other than the fact that he wanted to communicate with me directly without translation. Interestingly enough, this is an unique approach, but it also means that the students here are willing to open their minds to new forms of communication.
I sincerely hope that this mutual inspiration will continue throughout the next 11 weeks, on shore, and at sea! So far, so impressive… More to come, though! This is only the beginning for many amazing things to happen.