How can I improve my experience with interpreters?
Learning objectives: align accommodations with personal communication preferences and apply strategies for working with interpreters in the classroom.
Having an interpreter in the classroom doesn’t mean you will magically understand everything. It’s best for you to put in effort to make sure you have the best experience possible. Keep in mind that interpreters have different skills and knowledge. On top of that, every situation you find yourself in with interpreters will be different in all kinds of ways.
Sometimes you will need to help interpreters prepare by sharing materials with them in advance or sharing your preferred signs with them. If you see the interpreter talking with your teacher in the classroom and feel like you are being ignored or excluded, remind the interpreter they are there to provide you access and jump into the conversation.
You may miss information in the classroom because the interpreter is not in a good place or the teacher faces the blackboard and you can’t read their lips. You can take action here!
You can ask the interpreter to move so you can see them better, or ask for a notetaker so you can get access to information that you may have missed. It’s important to remember that you can change your environment so you can access information. If what you have right now isn’t working, try something different next time.
How can you change things in the classroom if you feel like you don’t understand what’s going on?
Sometimes you will need to help interpreters by sharing class information with them in advance or telling them what signs you prefer to use.
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Have you worked with interpreters before? How did it go? Was there anything that could have improved your experience?