|Wikimedia Commons photo by Justin Brockie|
And yet how often do we expect our students to share their ideas, try new things, or take a risk, all without fear or hesitation?
I have given myself a taste of my own medicine, and it's been good to remember how hard it is to do the things we ask our students to do all the time.
One of the gardeners I work with in our community garden is deaf. She had her hearing long enough to learn to speak, but she's never learned lip reading. So we've been getting by with her talking to us, and us writing to her. It's a functional solution, but not equitable, and definitely not inclusive.
I decided to learn to finger spell. Of course, "there's an app for that." I've been trying to spend a few minutes every day practicing with the app, and sometimes on my morning walk, I run through the alphabet or spell things I see.
But I was terrified to try it with my deaf friend. To be the rank beginner at the feet of the expert.
Finally, this past weekend, I jumped the hurdle. I told her I was learning. Her smile glowed and crinkles showed in the corners of her eyes. I asked for her patience as I got better. She nodded enthusiastically.
And that's all it took. I just had to get past my fear of failing and give it a try. She is thrilled that I am making an attempt to communicate with her on her terms, and she is patient, encouraging and helpful.
Just like we are with our students.