HARLINGEN, Texas – Online learning has had many challenges for students and teachers. Rio Grande Valley educators are helping their students who are deaf and hard of hearing overcome these challenges.
Brownsville Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Timothy Cuff says, “we’ve had some situations where we could not do something because maybe some technicalities or we just couldn’t do it because of the rule of the game.”
One of the issues they were having were using face masks for teaching.
“There are some lip readers and with the mask on that caused some problems,” he said. “We found closed captioning was a challenge and sometimes we found it wasn’t keeping up.”
McAllen ISD teacher Robin Ellis is learning to adapt to using online learning. “One, making sure when we’re in an inclusion class with a regular teacher, that we can see an interpreter and we’re able to see the teacher, interpreter, and the rest of the class,” said Ellis.
Ellis is using devices to demonstrates to her class what she wants them to do.
“Show them something on their iPad and expect them to go find it on theirs but the parents have been wonderful. I’ve called on Facetime and they’ve helped show them what they’re supposed to be doing and it has been a good team effort,” said Ellis. She goes on to say, “I would call the parents on their phone and I would use my phone and iPad to show the kids where they need to go.”
Michelle Todd interprets for a teacher at McAllen Memorial High and is interpreting for Beatrice Garcia when she she says her school has all hands on deck.
Todd said, “we have 6 teachers Deaf Ed teachers and 10 interpreters and some as teachers.”
Even with all the challenges Dr. Cuff says, “we just knock the door down and go on through.”
The teachers said they try their best to keep their connection with their students by having their online learning face to face as much as possible.