Terri May, Fayette County School

I am an itinerant teacher in Fayette County School, Lexington, KY. I grew up in a rural county in Northern Kentucky and had never met a deaf or hard of hearing person until I stepped into a D/HH classroom while pursuing my degree in Elementary Education. After observing for the day, I called and changed my major. I just fell in love with the students and sign language.

I received my first teaching assignment on a Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.: report to school on Monday morning, ready to teach. I was scared to death!! My position involved traveling to an elementary, middle and high school each day. Fortunately, I had a great support network of current teachers in Fayette County and my professors from Eastern Kentucky University.

One of the biggest problems that I have encountered in my teaching career is learning sign language. I started teaching at age 32 and learning a new language has been tough at times. My students are not afraid to correct me, however, and I have no problem admitting mistakes. Being able to laugh at myself has been helpful.

An important part of my teaching is being available to my students and their parents. Parents know that I welcome their calls.

My teaching career has led to many long-term relationships. Words can not describe the feeling that I get when a student sees me in the community and runs up to tell me how he is doing in class. Another student e-mails me when he is rewarded for good behavior or working hard.

In the classroom, I try to make information more accessible for my students. It is rewarding to walk into class and see the students’ faces relax. As an itinerant teacher, you must be familiar with curriculum from Preschool to 12th grade. It can be a challenge to transition quickly from 3rd grade reading to 9th grade Advanced Algebra.

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