Linda Lugo Hill, Texas School for the Deaf

My family moved to Florida from Mexico. Shortly after I was born, my family moved again to Indiana. Out of eight children in my family, three are deaf. In South Bend, Indiana I attended an elementary school where deaf education services were provided. During third grade, my family moved once again to Corpus Christi, Texas. My role model during elementary school was one of my older brothers. He was valedictorian of his high school class and attended Yale University. I wanted to succeed like him.

That was when I understood how important education was, and I became determined to do well at school. All of my teachers had high expectations for me. By then I realized that I wanted to become a teacher.

After high school graduation, I attended Del Mar Community College, Gallaudet University, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. While attending school full time, I taught reading, writing, and science at a local middle school. In May 1998, I received my bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education. The following fall, I attended Lamar University to pursue a master’s degree in Deaf Education.

Taking a break from my studies, I worked at the Missouri School for the Deaf as a residential advisor and later as a long-term substitute teacher for a pre-kindergarten class. Realizing my love of teaching and the significance of a master’s degree, I returned to Lamar University. I completed my studies in 2000 and continued to work at the Missouri School for the Deaf as a pre-kindergarten teacher.

In 2002, my family moved to San Antonio, Texas where I began work as an elementary school teacher for kindergarten through second grade. There I faced a challenge: I was asked to use my voice while teaching. I felt uncomfortable because I feel that I don’t have good speech skills. I refused to use my voice. As a result, one of the administrators sent an interpreter to my classroom. This only caused confusion for my students and an uncomfortable situation for me.

Since January 2003, I have taught high school at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin. I have taught various subjects and currently teach Spanish and Biology studies. At first teaching high school was tough for me because I had no experience teaching secondary classes. Now I can’t imagine leaving the high school because I’ve developed such good rapport with the students.

I didn’t experience many barriers during my studies to become a teacher. Occasionally, however, I was bothered by what some people thought of me. When asked about my job, I would answer “Teacher”. People often added, “Aide?”. Many of them did not see how a Hispanic Deaf woman could be a teacher. Or, perhaps, they had never met someone like me.

Among other reasons, I wanted to be a teacher because I felt I was a good role model for children. They could look up to me. Because deaf children spend most of their day at school, they depend on the teacher for guidance. I care about my students, and I want them to receive the best education possible.

I believe that I’ve made a difference for my students throughout my teaching career. My former and current students often tell me how they are glad to know someone like me. Many of them are Hispanic themselves. They feel comfortable talking with me about their families and things happening at home and school. They do so because I’m Hispanic, and I understand Mexican culture. That inspires me to continue my teaching career.

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