A Day in the Life of a Teacher of the Deaf: Emma

Emma FouldsEmma Foulds graduated from Manchester with a PGDip in Deaf Education in 2016. She is currently an Integrated Resource Co-ordinator and Teacher of the Deaf with the Sheffield Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service. Here, she tells us about what a typical day on the job is like.

8:00am: Arrive at work

I’m based at a large primary school in Sheffield. The school has 450 pupils, 17 of whom are hearing impaired and therefore access the Integrated Resource. The first thing that I do is check whether I have any texts and emails from the Integrated Staff reporting their absence. If so, I’ll move staff around to ensure that every child gets the support that they need.

8:20: Morning briefing

All school staff are invited to the morning briefing on Monday morning, led by the head teacher. This meeting is vital to know what is going on around school. We always end with me teaching the staff a ‘sign of the week’. This week the sign is ‘vote’ due to the impending general election!

8:30: Audiology checks

The children arrive in the base for their morning checks before being sent to their classes. Fifteen of the children arrive on the local authority transport minibuses.

Our pupils have a full check of their hearing aids, cochlear implants and radio aids. The older pupils are supervised whilst attaching their radio aids and given access to resources to clean and maintain their own equipment.

The Y6 students have just been given their ear level receivers as part of their transition to secondary school in September – they are all really excited and feeling very ‘grown up’!

9:00: Audiology Clinic

Our Educational Audiologist visits the base every two weeks. I have asked her to check one of our Y3 children as he complained of a painful right ear during morning checks earlier. Our Ed Aud had a look and spotted lots of wax. I’ll send an email to his mum later informing her of the visit and outcomes.

9:30: In class support in Y4 English

I enjoy supporting in this class as the children are all enthusiastic and motivated to learn, and the mainstream teacher is very deaf aware and a great teacher. Their topic is ‘Sheffield – The Steel City’ which is great as our hearing impaired children all feel confident about their local areas, and are subsequently more likely to contribute and get involved in class discussion.

There are four hearing impaired children in this class of 30 children. We had a pre-teach session last week as I knew that they would be learning some vocabulary that would be new and possibly tricky. It is great to see the hearing impaired children referring to the vocabulary mat that we created in our last session – I’m so proud of how much they know!

Emma Foulds PGDip Deaf Education
Emma and her class

10:15: Back up of in class support English session

This quick session is with the Y4 children from the previous in-class support session. We go over any new vocabulary that they have learned and the overall learning.

I create very quick vocabulary cards for the children – with the new word on one side and a picture on the other. The children can have a look at these later on the learning wall in the base. The TAs will create ‘communicate in print’ cards for all new vocabulary this week, to be sent home to parents on Friday.

10:45: Withdrawal session of Y3 pupil – language focus

This Y3 pupil has a bilateral severe-profound hearing loss that was detected when she was two – she was born in a country that doesn’t have neonatal screening. She needs intense language support. She really enjoys fairy stories and traditional tales, so I base a lot of my teaching around them, and this half-term our theme is Jack and the Beanstalk.

This also fits in with her mainstream topic of Houses and Homes – well, sort of! We build a castle together out of cardboard boxes and use the small play equipment to ‘furnish’ each room. This was a great session as it covered lots of great language – and was lots of fun. We were also able to use the prepositions that I know she needs practice on.

12:00: Lunch

I have a quick chat to our PE co-ordinator about Sports Day next week over lunch. Our school sports day next week is being held at the English Institute of Sport – a professional athletics venue here in Sheffield. As the acoustics at the sports venue are quite poor, I agree to make signs and a flag to help signpost the hearing impaired children.

12:30: Friendship club

The TAs host a friendship club during Monday lunchtime. This is where the hearing impaired children can invite a friend to the base at lunchtime to play games, socialise and access creative activities. This is really popular.

I tell the TA about the idea to make signs and flags for sports day and she agrees that it’s a good idea – out comes the glitter, poster paper and paint! Some children don’t want to get involved in the flag making and decide to play chess instead – I don’t know how to play chess so have a sneaky look myself!

1:30: Little Hands and Voices Group

I host a weekly group for pre-school deaf and hearing impaired children and their parents. The families all know each other now so straight away, the parents immediately make cups of tea and start chatting!

I read The Hungry Caterpillar to the children using the puppets and props that we made last week. The children are improving in their listening skills and making friends with each other.

Our guest speaker this week is our Head of Service. She introduced herself to the parents and explained a little about how the service works. The parents are keen to ask her about different provision and support options for when the children start school.

3:00 End of the day (for the children!)

The hearing impaired children congregate in the base at the end of each day. We all have a piece of fruit and a general chat. Sometimes, the children want to watch ‘Go For It’ – an online BSL programme for deaf children – but today one of the Y5 children is telling us about his upcoming seaside holiday with his family. The three transport escorts arrive at around 3:15 and the children go home.

3:30: SENCO meeting

I catch up with our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in school about Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) conversions. We confirm the upcoming dates so that I can invite all relevant parties and book interpreters where necessary.

4:00: Prep for tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I will be conducting speech discrimination testing on five of the pupils. I gather the CD player and other testing equipment so that I can get on with it first thing. In the afternoon, I am taking the Y2 children on a minibeast hunt in preparation for their in class learning next week. I print off the risk assessment and make a mental note to bring my wellies!

Find out more about studying for a MSc or PGDip in Deaf Education.

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