^^^Outside After All Of This^^^
Yesterday was a real dream for me, and so incredibly rewarding. I had the amazing opportunity to teach a sign language class to second graders at my local elementary school. I’ve been wanting to get the children in my community interested in signing, because children are quite literally the future. Bringing awareness and education to our future is the most important thing any adult can do, and this is one way I get to do that.
I got to the school as they were coming in from recess. The kids were abuzz; they were excited, and were trying hard to stay seated. The teacher offered me a rocking chair and I sat their observing the class as the last few kids came in from putting their snow gear in their lockers. To be honest, my excitement matched theirs.
Once they were all seated, and the teacher had introduced me, I reintroduced myself in sign language. Then I asked them all if they knew what sign language was. Very pleasantly surprising to me, they knew quite a lot! They understood it was a real language, and that people who “had a hard time hearing” used it to “understand” each other. One girl in the class even knew quite a few signs. She spent their silent reading time with some ASL books the teacher had.
We went right into learning the colors. Kids are just so awesome. Even the ones who didn’t have the sign just right exuded pride and joy with each new sign. I taught them a color song, we sang and signed it, and I was beyond impressed. Not only did they all remember the color signs, but they picked up the other words in the song as well.
Next was story time, and time to learn animal signs! I brought along Brown Bear, Brown Bear to read with the class. Caleb’s teacher let me borrow something even better: laminated blown up characters! As we went through the book, I would first ask the class what the sign for the color was (since we learned them in the color song), then I would teach them the animal sign, and lastly read the page of the book. Afterwards I asked them what their favorite animal in the story was, but to sign it instead of say it. Everyone that answered did a fantastic job.
Last but not least, we went over the alphabet, and sang a song about the alphabet and first letter of many words. The kids were amazed by this part. I showed them at least seventy signs in just that one song. Afterwards I opened “the floor” to questions. Most were, “How do you sign my name?” but there were a few really great, including, “How do you sign military?” I didn’t have an answer for that one, so it gave me something to look into. The kids didn’t want me to leave, but it was time for their next teacher to come in.
Overall, it was great. It was the perfect group of kids to be teaching for my first time, and by the end many other teachers were asking me to come teach their classes too. It really doesn’t get better than that. This isn’t something I’m getting paid for, or any kind of school credit. It’s just something I want to do; my way to volunteer. I really feel blessed to have this opportunity. I look forward to doing it again soon!