10 October 2009
Becoming an eco-conscious ASL Teacher
One of the best things about ASL in the academic environment is that it requires less paper. Becoming an ASL teacher has helped me realize how eco-friendly this type of class can become...
By using ASL in the classroom...
-We reduce the use of paper and ink...
-We reduce noise pollution...
-We bring a sense of community with our ASL stories...
-And... we can use the language to bring knowledge about ecosystem and ecological conservatism to our future generations. Earlier this year, for example, the Gallaudet National Essay, Art, and ASL contest theme was "Going Green: What I'm Doing to Help Save the Environment" and deaf students from all over the nation participated in the ASL contest, signing their eco-messages.
Since becoming an ASL teacher, I've discovered that it is pretty easy to modify the classroom and teaching environment into a eco-one. Here are some examples of what I've done:
Instead of copying papers or printing text to give to students, I have them read their instructions on the projector screen and answer in ASL.
Instead of giving paper quizzes, I have them sign the answers (which I think makes them think constructively and remember more) on VoiceThread, a web-based interactive classroom where students comments are recorded into video through their iSight/webcam on their Macbook.
Most of the classroom decorations were gathered from other classroom's discarded pile of last year's decorations. My hallway passes are laminated so students use it over and over.
And the paper ones I must use, I reuse as scrap paper.
If I must print, I figure out how to double-side print things.
And, I try to bike to work everyday... being an eco-conscious and health-conscious role model for the students and staff. Many of my students have told me they thought it was "super cool" that I biked to work, which boosted my eco-ego. I love how eco-supportive our young generation is.
But... We also live in a world that's becoming more and more dominated by technology- I cringe just thinking about the amount of energy that my projector use to operate. The lights that we use in the classroom. The TV we use to watch ASL videos. The student's laptops. But I remind myself that these laptops are made by the eco-conscious Apple, and can be recycled into new ones. Can't always win with everything, but at least I try to use less energy.
And, the coolest thing?
A teacher found my email address through the EcoDeaf bio/profiles and encouraged me to apply for this job-- had EcoDeaf not existed, I would probably not have been so lucky to get a job like this one. Not only has EcoDeaf served as an information center for the ASL community, it brings people of similiar interests many opportunities!
Thank you, EcoDeaf!