Adjustment of the Year


 Many can agree that this year has been an adjustment for everyone, especially for those sitting in front of a laptop watching their teacher sign sentences in American Sign Language.  


   This is the perspective of Mrs. Timmerman’s students. Mrs. Timerman is the ASL (American Sign Language) teacher. Her class is voice off, meaning no talking, which she claims is the best method of teaching ASL. She says she doesn’t mind teaching online but confesses that the classroom management is very different. 


   Mrs. Timmerman explains, “Students have a lot of distractions at home that are out of my control, and I do feel that I work harder to keep them focused and on task.  I know it can also be extremely stressful for many students, as they are stuck at home with no ability to go out, the internet does not always play nice, and some have younger siblings at home to care for.’


   Even though this is a very stressful time for many teachers and students, Mrs. Timmerman always has a positive attitude. She makes jokes, is very understanding when students have technology issues, and always has a smile on her face. She also always encourages her students to not give up.


   She says she is very appreciative that we live in a time with advanced technology. “Overall, I am glad it worked out that we are able to continue schooling online while we wait for this pandemic to end.”


   Many teachers like Mrs. Timmerman are trying to make the best out of the situation that has been given to us. 


   She states, “One of the biggest challenges I face (and my fellow ASL colleagues also face) is getting the attention of the students without having to turn on my microphone. Typing in the chat is my first line of communication if they are not looking at the screen, but I do sometimes have to resort to other tactics such as playing a loud YouTube video to get their attention.” Getting students attention while trying not to use her voice might be one of the hardest things for her.


   If a lot of students get distracted and aren’t paying attention to their screens, she tries waving them down or typing in the chat but by doing this, it could distract students from what she was originally trying to teach.


   She also mentions that another big issue is when a student doesn’t have a good internet connection. To some students Mrs. Timmerman’s signing might appear laggy or frozen, which causes students to miss out on what she is going over. She continues to say that Zoom doesn’t allow her students to see her and the powerpoint at the same time which makes it difficult to communicate.


   Another problem is when a student has their camera off and Mrs. Timmerman can’t see her students signing, she encourages everyone to turn their camera on but there are always students who are having computer issues or simply don’t turn them on.


   The only way to help fix these problems is by staying patient during online school until we go back. Her students say that the only difference between ASL in class versus online is that in class they would finish faster because she was right in front of them and if she needed to get someone’s attention she could snap or make a noise and students would look at her. Now over zoom students can agree that it is harder to stay focused. During these hard times, Mrs. Timmerman has a positive attitude and tries her best to work with her students so they can succeed in her class.