Student won't watch me interpret! What should I do?

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Would the parents/student be allowed to? If they had the money, and didn't like the school-provided interpreter (for whatever reason)? Or are there rules/laws against supplying your own interpreter and declining the school-provided one?
Think about it this way.

Suppose a student or parents don't like the school teachers. Can they hire their own teachers?

Parents can complain to the school if the interpreting services are not meeting the needs of the child as enumerated in the IEP. Also, they can report unethical interpreter behavior to the principal, school board, and/or district.

Sadly, not all parents know what constitutes good or bad interpreting.
 

Persephone M

New Member
The only thing the terp can ask would have to be related to the interpreting process. For example, when arranging the seating and lighting, the terp could ask the client, "Can you see me clearly?"



Tutoring and interpreting are two different situations, and come under different guidelines.

What if it is because he has an undiagnosed disability? I have some invisible disabilities that make me do similar things. People are easily frustrated with me because I seem not to be trying or paying attention. One example is, I am focusing on what they are saying, and the mention hobbits, and I remember all those endless descriptions of trees, and the debate between my friend and I about Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings, and crap, they've been talking for a while and I have no idea what they just said. Other times I am listening and suddenly it's like I am re-entering reality, (even though I wasn't really thinking about anything), or like time stopped for a moment just for me. I can concentrate and remember a few key words or the last few words, as if I heard them from a great distance, or a dream that is mixed with reality, or an echo of the sound after the fact. (It's a little hard to describe.)

For me it's every day, many conversations- it can be frustrating for both of us and sometimes I just pretend I've been there the whole conversation and just carry on for various reasons. So when someone says some kid is just being rude- but not defiant- I wonder what the cause is. If he did have something ADHD or whatever- I guess the teacher would be responsible for accommodating, but what if the interpreter were the first/only one to notice it existed? Would they be able to talk to the kid? The parents? The teacher? It seems like it should be anyone's/everyone's responsibility to call attention to it. And I can see how an interpreter might be the first to notice- depending on his environment, people may brush odd indicative behaviors off as "because he's deaf," or never even notice because of already difficult (and possibly avoided) communication otherwise.

In all other regards, I generally agree with everyone else. I am not trying to say it's the interpreters job to make them pay attention- I would have little to no right to an opinion in such an area, anyway. But since no one seemed to think of disabilities as a possibility, I wanted to toss it out there. At the very least, if it is a disability, then he is not being rude. I have no idea where the lines lay for interpreters in cases of noticing disabilities or even abuse of children they interpret for. I am curious about all the intricacies, but seem to have typed too much already. :Oops:
 
I'm a little late to this thread seeing how it was started at the beginning of the year, but I have to disagree with the notion that it's the interpreter's job to just stand there and relay information, and anything else is outside of their job description.

The full job description of an interpreter is "communication and cultural mediator". In the case of a Deaf student not paying attention to the interpreter, it may not be realistic in that scenario to expect the hearing teacher to pick up on it. As long as the student is not being disruptive or obviously not paying attention (for instance, reading a comic book hidden underneath his text book) then the teacher may simply not be aware of the fact that he isn't paying attention. In her world, a student can still receive information even if not looking directly at the speaker, and it may simply not dawn on her that this is not the case in the world of sign language.

In this situation, I think it would be appropriate for an interpreter to act as a cultural mediator and say to the teacher, "I'm not sure if you realize this or not, but Billy is not paying attention to what I'm interpreting, and I'm not certain he is receiving the information being presented in the classroom." This could open up an opportunity to educate the teacher about Deaf culture, the interpreter's role, and to discuss strategies for encouraging the student to stay engaged in the classroom instruction.

Of course there is no one-size-fits-all solution to any dilemma an interpreter faces. Depending on the constellation of demands, what might be an effective control in one situation will not be in another. It's best not to think in terms of rigid boundaries.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
I'm a little late to this thread seeing how it was started at the beginning of the year, but I have to disagree with the notion that it's the interpreter's job to just stand there and relay information, and anything else is outside of their job description.

The full job description of an interpreter is "communication and cultural mediator". In the case of a Deaf student not paying attention to the interpreter, it may not be realistic in that scenario to expect the hearing teacher to pick up on it. As long as the student is not being disruptive or obviously not paying attention (for instance, reading a comic book hidden underneath his text book) then the teacher may simply not be aware of the fact that he isn't paying attention. In her world, a student can still receive information even if not looking directly at the speaker, and it may simply not dawn on her that this is not the case in the world of sign language.

In this situation, I think it would be appropriate for an interpreter to act as a cultural mediator and say to the teacher, "I'm not sure if you realize this or not, but Billy is not paying attention to what I'm interpreting, and I'm not certain he is receiving the information being presented in the classroom." This could open up an opportunity to educate the teacher about Deaf culture, the interpreter's role, and to discuss strategies for encouraging the student to stay engaged in the classroom instruction.

Of course there is no one-size-fits-all solution to any dilemma an interpreter faces. Depending on the constellation of demands, what might be an effective control in one situation will not be in another. It's best not to think in terms of rigid boundaries.
Good points.

Yes, the interpreter can inform the teacher that the student is not paying attention (during private discussion before or after class). The interpreter can also make some suggestions or provide some cultural/linguistic insight. However, it is still the teacher's responsibility to act on that information. Only the teacher has that authority. If teachers perceive (rightly or wrongly) that the terp is usurping that authority, it can cause a rift in classroom team cooperation, and that can ultimately harm the student.
 
I agree. I was not suggesting that the interpreter usurp the teacher's authority. I was simply making note of the fact that an interpreter's responsibility in any given situation is often larger than the actual job of interpreting and that invoking the "It's not in my job description" excuse may be inappropriate and even unethical, depending on the circumstances.
 

shimo

New Member
This is my first "official" interpreting position. 4th grade, mainstreamed student. He is new to the school, that is why I am starting in the middle of the year. Problem is, he won't watch me interpret. He has the mental capacity to understand what I'm telling him (especially if we work one on one), but he is WAY too distracted in the normal regular ed room. I'm afraid he is not going to learn what he needs to for the rest of the year... I don't know what to do...?

You could try to have him seated in the front of the classroom so that he sees less of the classroom and is less distracted, but it isn't your job to keep him on-task

(or if it is, it shouldn't be. Your job is to interpret, unless specified by an IEP or other school-pupil agreement that the student needs someone to keep him or her on task. In which case, student needs a health aid in addition to an interpreter... ideally, anyway).


I guess I am concerned about what the other parents would think of they saw that one student was getting a lot of support (reminders to stay on task, spoon-feeding... etc) and their kid was not getting that kind of individualized attention. It would seem unfair unless there was strict documentation explicitly stating the student needed these kinds of interventions according to their condition.
 
Honestly, I doubt hearing students would think that the Deaf child was gaining an unfair advantage. Most likely they would pity him for his "disability" and his need for someone to "help" him understand what is being taught.
 

shimo

New Member
Mountain Man said:
Honestly, I doubt hearing students would think that the Deaf child was gaining an unfair advantage. Most likely they would pity him for his "disability" and his need for someone to "help" him understand what is being taught.

For parents, not at all!
pity would be the last thing on their mind.

if anything they would see it as special treatment or favoritism to argue the teacher is incompetent or biased. parents are only concerned that their child (not other children) is treated "fairly".


Posted from Alldeaf.com App for Android
 
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For parents, not at all!
pity would be the last thing on their mind.
Tell me, have you met many hearing parents encountering a Deaf child for the first time? My son is Deaf, so I have a lot of experience in this area. Invariably the reaction is, "Ah, the poor thing." For that matter, even Deaf adults get this response. It's not the least unusual for hearing people to think the interpreter is there because the Deaf person is unable to function on his own.
 

BookTard

New Member
Are you allowed to ask the kid?

Probably not.

When I tutor and a kid does that (stops paying attention in the middle of a sentence) I ask why. You'd be surprised by the answers. Also sometimes they are not aware they are doing it.

Regardless if you can ask him you might be able to address the problem better.

I have asked him before.. he just smiles and shrugs...
 

needsleep

Member
It's your job to interpret. You're not his babysitter or his teacher.

Harder said than done, I know. I would have a hard time with that too. How frustrating!
 

BrittBritt

New Member
Its hard for me to watch a terp for an entire 2 hour class. I can't imagine being 9 and having to watch a terp all day long. But watching a terp is at least better than reading an RTC screen. That's what really pushed me into learning ASL. I knew I couldn't function in my life without a language. RTC is soooooooo boring. But sorry, I digress. Anyways yeah, it would be really hard for a 9 year old to pay attention all day. I bet a lot of the hearing kids aren't even paying attention. They just don't have on person dedicated to paying attention to them, like he does, so people don't notice as much when they aren't paying attention.
 

dereksbicycles

Active Member
I remember when I was 16 and in driving education class. I fell asleep in class. WHen I woke up, I saw that the interpreter had left. It must be hard to be the only student using interpreter in classroom. That would probably explain why I got few speeding tickets.
 

Foxrac

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
When I was in elementary and middle school, the interpreter makes me to pay attention at all time, if I didn't so the interpreter forced my head and scold at me for not pay attention.

That's not in case anymore at high school and college.
 

Foxrac

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Its hard for me to watch a terp for an entire 2 hour class. I can't imagine being 9 and having to watch a terp all day long. But watching a terp is at least better than reading an RTC screen. That's what really pushed me into learning ASL. I knew I couldn't function in my life without a language. RTC is soooooooo boring. But sorry, I digress. Anyways yeah, it would be really hard for a 9 year old to pay attention all day. I bet a lot of the hearing kids aren't even paying attention. They just don't have on person dedicated to paying attention to them, like he does, so people don't notice as much when they aren't paying attention.

Same here, I have a hard time to pay attention, more than 1 hour. :ugh:
 
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