|01-30-2012, 12:40 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Teachable Moments: Cara Wilmot, itinerant teacher of deaf/hard of hearing
Teachable Moments: Cara Wilmot, itinerant teacher of deaf/hard of hearing | jacksonville.com
Cara Wilmot is living out a dream job.
As an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing for Duval County Public Schools, Wilmot works with the students in the neighborhood schools — often visiting between one and five schools a day. She helps students with audiological needs succeed in their classrooms — and shows teachers, administrators and parents how best to support them when she’s not around.
Wilmot has always enjoyed immersing herself in new cultures through travel and study. Her work with the deaf and hard of hearing community has a similar allure. A population with its own definitions of what it means to be “big D deaf” (culturally deaf) or “little d deaf” (an audiological condition), the deaf and hard of hearing community is distinctive.
A 2011-12 Teacher of the Year, Wilmot is applying her appreciation and deep understanding for this culture of learning to her career.
What have your strengths as a teacher been, and do you think they’d be different in a more traditional setting?
I think my strengths as a deaf and hard of hearing teacher is that I’m a diagnostician. I go in there, and I analyze the situation. I ask “why are they not able to learn?” Or “what is their best learning style?” And I work with the teachers to help them learn in their classroom. For my children, every student has different needs — based on intellectual levels, based on what they need at that time, based on how they’re doing in their class and what kind of class they’re in. It’s a wide variety of things.
Do you have time to build personal relationships with your students and is that important in the work you do?
I’m really lucky. A lot of my students — I have taught them for multiple years. I build those relationships with the student. I build those relationships with the families. You become a better advocate when you get to know them so well.
You talked about working as a team with parents, administrators and other teachers — what kind of role do you want parents to play in the success of their students?
My students who make the most amount of growth are the ones whose parents are supporting what I do. I’m only there maybe once or twice a week. Their parents are with them every day. They have to follow up with them when I’m not around to help them do what needs to be done. I can come up with a really great strategy, but if it’s not practiced every day, they might not learn it.
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller