There are definite challenges to being at the head of the classroom with a hearing impairment, but it doesn’t need to hamper one’s ability to inspire learning in students.
Having hearing loss actually provides an educator with the opportunity to teach students about awareness of various impairments and having empathy for others.
To be an effective teacher in the face of hearing loss, it helps to keep the following things in mind:
- Boundaries are your friend: Youth function better when they know there are limits to acceptable behavior. Every classroom has children that are more likely to push boundaries. Be firm with all students from the beginning. Teachers with hearing loss need to be specific with classroom rules for clear communication – no whispering with neighbors and raising hands before speaking, for example.
- Don’t shy away from impairment: It’s not like you can hide your hearing loss forever with these youngsters who will be in close quarters with you for the next nine months. Be upfront about it and soak in their curiosity about it – they’re likely to be quite accepting and natural about it once they understand how they communicate with you.
- Use hearing loss as a learning tool: Maybe it won’t help them with their fractions during the math lesson, but your hearing loss can promote plenty of life lessons and behaviors. It can be used to help them relate to and have empathy for classmates with ADHD, developmental issues and vision impairments.
- Work well with others: It may be helpful to ask colleagues for advice and support to help you navigate the landscape at your school. Be open with administrators about any extra support or resources you may require. Being supported by colleagues will make any difficulty in your job responsibilities easier to handle.
- Incorporate parents: Strive to have effective communication with parents before the beginning of the academic year. Making them aware and informed about any particular things to discuss with their child can only help your classroom run more smoothly all year.