By: Maileen G. Ocampo
Teacher III (BNHS)
“ A teacher doesn’t have the right to choose the kind of students he will teach rather the students have the right to be educated regardless of his socio-economic status ,age, cultural background or disabilities.”
This is what I’ve learned when I handled the Special Education Class for hearing impaired students. Few years ago, I was assigned to teach Hearing Impaired learners. I was too hesitant at first because I didn’t have any idea on how to communicate with them. As a call of duty, I taught their English class with zero knowledge on basic sign language. I had full of doubts in my heart if I would be able to make them learn. It was a difficult process on my part because I had to write on the board everything that I wanted to tell them, from simple instructions down to the lessons that they were expected to learn. To be able to reach and understand my students, I asked them to teach me the signs of alphabet and some basic words that they used in their daily conversation. This was the first step I had undertaken so that I could express my thoughts with them through sign language. A year after, I attended the Basic Sign Language Training conducted by the Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf at the Philippine School for the Deaf. This training enabled me to learn more of the communication arts of the hearing impaired students and this made me appreciate them more.Teaching children with special needs is not an easy thing to do. As a teacher, I’m not only responsible in teaching them the principles of learning, but to make them apply the knowledge they gained into reality. Being deaf and mute, they learn better when words are associated with pictures. They need to see real objects, so I give them the opportunity to touch and feel things around them so that they can better understand the meaning of these words. Moreover, I have also discovered that most children with disabilities are artistic, sensitive and thoughtful. It is on the part of the teacher to discover and hone their innate talents .Through teaching differently-abled students ,I also developed the virtues of compassion and patience and I also learned not to take them for granted because among the other learners, they are the ones who need immediate attention, affection and appreciation from their teachers. This made me realized that my calling as a teacher is not only for regular individuals but for those who have special needs.
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