Sign Language Teacher

Michelle, works for LADSE. She has a Cool Job working as a Hearing Itinerant Teacher.

Her Gig:

Michelle is a Hearing Itinerant Teacher, at LADSE (LaGrange Area Department of Special Education) in Illinois. "I first became interested in communication disorders Freshman year of College, and as I became more familiar with the field, I started taking sign language classes. I loved the language, and from there I decided that I needed to work with the deaf and hard of hearing. I have always like children and being in the school setting."

A Day In The Life Of:

Her job entitles traveling from school to school, helping those students who are hard of hearing, that have been placed in regular education classes. She visits about 5 schools a day. "I first check my messages from home before I jump in my car. Then I head to my first school, talk with the teacher, or any other staff member that I need to consult with about my student. Then I pull my student out of the classroom for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. We work on how well he can compensate with his hearing loss. We go over some basic things he needs to remember in the classroom, such as watching the teacher's mouth when she is talking, sitting near the front of the room, etc. Then we work a little on lip reading and auditory comprehension, basically training the students how to pull from what they do hear, to make fit into the activity, and then how to ask for clarification if they don't understand. Then, I send them back to their classroom, jump back into my car and head off to the next school. Each student varies in their abilities and staff members that I work with."

Career Path:

For a few summers during college Michelle was a camp counselor for a city program, and then she was paid as a student teacher. Then she started working for LADSE. "My first big break came when I was doing my student teaching, one of the other teachers was leaving to have a baby, and they asked me to fill in for her for the rest of the school year (one semester), so I was able to get my foot in the door with such a great experience under my belt, and get paid as a student teacher!"

High Five:

"Really connecting with the students, seeing a breakthrough."

Down Low:

"Driving, I put on about 60 miles a day!"

Wish List:

"Having my own classroom, or at least an organized car!"

Words From the Wise:

"You have to be extremely flexible with your day, because what you have on your schedule can change at the drop of a hat if something comes up. And you have to be a people person, getting to know a lot of people in each building, especially the secretaries, if they like you, they will help you out during the day."


Master's in Special Education from Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

For More Information:

You can look at American Annals of the Deaf magazine, in each issue they list jobs in the country that apply to deaf education. Or your regional education office.

Deaf Connection

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