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4. A Signer Helps Students
Joan’s job is to use American Sign Language
enable instructors to communicate with English-speaking deaf students.
went to school for three years to get
certificate. According to Joan, learning ASL was not
difficult, but learning to be an excellent interpreter
take a lifetime.
Three years after enrolling at
College, Joan graduated as a Certified ASL Interpreter.
of job opportunities were waiting for her. She
the college environment, so she applied for a
at Newton Community College, a school with 28,000
. There are 22 hearing-impaired students at NCC. Joan
worked with most of them.
They are very
with her. Often they invite her to have
cup of coffee after class. They talk about
and about what they hope to do after
. Sometimes the women talk about personal things, especially
how hard it is to find “Mr. Right.”
agrees with them, saying she herself has given
on finding him. They also talk about their
movies, books, and music. Even deaf people can “
” music. Many are good dancers.
Joan is one
the four interpreters on campus. Two are full-time;
works part-time. She accompanies a deaf student to
. The student sits in the front row. Joan
sits near the teacher, facing the student. She
as the teacher talks. If the class is
than 90 minutes long, there is only one
per student. If the class is longer, there
two interpreters per student. They alternate; one interpreter
sign for 20 minutes, and then the other
Joan will go back to school soon. She
to become a Certified French Sign Language Interpreter.
already speaks French fluently; her mom taught it
her. Her mom also taught Joan that American
are hopeless. She frequently told Joan that only
French man knows how to make a woman
like a woman. Joan idolizes her mom, and
her advice to heart. It will take Joan
three more years to get certified.
she will leave California, move to Paris, find
romantic French boyfriend, and live happily ever after.
’s her plan.