I did it. I completed my first American Sign Language course. This may have been one of the biggest and most enjoyable challenges of my life. The class was mixed in ages, and my brain definitely did not work as well as those of the younger students in the class, so I had to work harder. That was a new experience for me. I’m used to being one of the first in the class to “get it” and this was humbling.
It was fascinating to be in a class with a deaf instructor. In order to communicate with her, I had no choice but to learn the language; it wasn’t like my French class where I could ask the instructor things in English if I didn’t have the French words. I appreciated the peace in the classroom (no one talked aloud) and I now think that all students should learn some basic sign language in elementary school. Otherwise, for those whose only language is ASL, the world is very closed, and for the rest of us we miss the opportunity to communicate with these people.
Of all the diversity training I’ve taken over the years, I think this course demonstrated to me best of all why our world is a better place when we have diverse workplaces, when many voices are able to be represented in our social structures.
And I got a pretty good grade: