My course leader had a consultation with a company called ‘Deafworks’, who I actually did part-time work for prior to starting my PGCE. Small world!
Some of the great advice they gave was for the course leader to “check in” with me every so often to see how I was getting on deaf wise. As every now and then there will be obstacles during the course because of my deafness. I’ve been meeting with my course leader every 2 weeks, and we’ve only had 2 so far, but it’s been good. Especially when I was having trouble with the notetaking situation. I think this is a really good thing for all deaf students to have on their PGCEs, as every deaf person is different, so will have different needs to accomodate to.
I met with my course leader 2 weeks before the PGCE course started to see what changes could be done to accomodate my needs. Since I can hear quite well with my cochlear implant, I wasnt going to need a sign language interpreter, but I would request one if I felt the session needed it (I’ve only felt this once, with PE, as the hall’s acoustics make it difficult for me to follow). I told her what I would need from the tutors during sessions in order to follow.
She then gave the tutors a little ‘deaf awareness’. I definitely needed the tutors to ensure I could see their face most of the time, because their voices would be new to me and I would need time to get used to listening to them without looking at them. All tutors have made themselves known to me since the beginning and have asked if what they are doing is OK (all of them have been great at making sure I can see them while talking, which is absolutely excellent). I havent felt uncomfortable, and it’s been useful for my course mates to see exactly how deafness can impact on you (they might have deaf children in their classrooms in the future!) Meeting my course leader prior to the course starting has paid off dividends in the long term, as otherwise I would have had to make a point of making myself known at every session, but this was in place already from the word go.
A little deaf awareness goes a long way…