Sunday, October 28, 2007
Much has happened now as I've passed the two month mark at TLC. I feel like I'm in some sort of immersion program, except that I sleep and eat breakfast at home. Otherwise, I spend most of my time at school, though I get paid for only about half of it. Soccer season is still going and I've been helping out the goalies on the varsity teams. I've also had my debut as a head coach (one of three) for a JV soccer team that the three of us volunteered our time to help prepare kids for the varsity team. We have a record of 1-1 now, just recently posting a 5-4 victory before a home crowd against the American School for the Deaf. It was extremely exciting, especially for the kids, of whom many were about to burst after scoring goals. It is controlled chaos on the field, but we're slowly improving as the kids learn how to make legal throw-ins, how to play their position and how to work as a team.
The varsity coed team just won a tournament (for, i think, the fifth year in a row) among the Rhode Island School for the Deaf, the Austine School for the Deaf in Brattleboro, VT, and Governor Baxter School for the Deaf near Portland, Maine.
Meanwhile, school has been progressing. I am slowly improving, though never as fast as I would like naturally. When I'm driving on the highway, I practice my numbers and letters by signing every license plate that passes me (yes, I'm usually in the slow lane as some of you can attest to). Or I try to sign to the songs that I'm listening to.
I now have lunch duty two times a week. This means I help watch the kids at lunch. But more importantly, it means I get to get in on the post-lunch four square games. The kids got a kick out of seeing me in the four-square line. It had been probably maybe twenty years since I'd played (back at Pine Hill School) but thankfully, I still had the touch.
To generate some school spirit before homecoming, which was last weekend, we had spirit week. Monday was pajama day, Tuesday was formal wear, Wednesday was Halloween costumes (as seen above with my English class - the pirate is the teacher), Thursday was twin/triplet day (we all dressed up like our supervisor) and Friday was school colors - the blue, black and white of the "Galloping Ghosts". The below picture is of my ELA (English Language Arts) class. Of course, I dressed up as an astronaut in a blue flight suit with NASA patches. At the beginning of the day, I felt a little subconscious in my blue suit, but by the end of the day, I thought, "I could get used to wearing this thing around." Perhaps someday...
I am still having fun with the kids. Last week one of them was trying (very successfully) to make me laugh by humming. Being the only hearing person in the classroom, I was the only one that could hear it. But so unnatural was the sound of someone humming loudly during a class without anyone noticing, that I could not help but smile. Soon I was chuckling to myself and before long, all the students were aware of what was going on, and I was covering my mouth to stop from bursting out laughing telling myself, "Ben, you simply cannot burst."
Well, that's the latest at TLC. Still having fun. I was lightly scolded (with a smile) last month, when after one student had finished his homework during the study period, I told him he could pick a book out from the shelves and do some reading (as I was supposed to.) However, the student picked a book about making things out of paper and came to me asking if he could make a paper airplane, modelled in the book. Of course, I was game and we proceeded to make a few stunt planes and naturally flew stunts thereafter. Needless to say, the teacher was out of the room and thankfully did not return while we were in our flight routines. She came back while one student was showing another how to build them. I was told that students should be reading if they finish their assignments. My argument, that the activity CAME from a book was did not override the initial rules. Nor did my encouragement of science win over an English teacher. My airplane has now been grounded to the bulletin board by the teacher. It's day to fly again will come.
I am still not a good signer, but the same English teacher, says that's okay, because I have "Teacher Gut". I'm slowly improving with middle school classes, ASL classes, ASL gatherings, and soccer practices. All in all, things are good, I'm still having lots of fun.
Feel free to email with any questions.
Posted by Ben Urmston