Loralee Plummer, Kansas School for the Deaf

Loralee Plummer, a deaf elementary teacher at the Kansas School for the Deaf, grew up in Newfoundland, Canada, and is the oldest of four girls in a hearing family. Loralee attended a school for the Deaf from five years of age until she graduated at 19, with the exception of one year in public school. Because her family lived some distance from the Deaf School, they wanted to have her closer to home, thus their decision to place her in public school. However, that year was a lonely year at school for Loralee, so her parents agreed to let her return to the Deaf School. When Loralee turned 13 years old, her family moved close enough to the school so she could live at home with her family and attend the Deaf School as a day student.

Loralee says that she always wanted to be a teacher from the time she was a little girl. Upon graduation she headed to Gallaudet University. Initially she thought that she would enjoy teaching biology, but after her student teaching experiences she found that her heart truly was with the younger students.

One obstacle she has faced has been becoming certified as a teacher in a state other than the one from which she graduated. Kansas certification requirements are one of the toughest in the country with several different teaching exams that must be passed in order to become certified. Loralee also notes that this involves a considerable expense, but in the long run is worth it.

A somewhat unique teaching experience for Loralee was one of her student teaching placements in a private school in Washington, DC. There she taught 8th grade biology with an interpreter. A second student teaching placement was in Staunton, Virginia at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

Currently Loralee teaches Kindergarten at the Kansas School for the Deaf and sees herself as a language role model for these young students. She recognizes the importance of full access to comprehensible language at an early age. Loralee believes “it’s fun being in these first years of teaching when there are so many new ideas and fresh ways of doing things!”

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