Dear Sophie: I want to be a teacher of the deaf
Hi! My name is Tionna Mitchell, and I am 12-years-old. I live in Halifax County, Virginia. I have a mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear. I wear a hearing aid and use an FM system in the classroom. My hearing aid helps me hear most speech sounds that I wouldn’t be able to hear without it. It also helps me to localize sounds and follow general conversations. My FM helps me hear my teacher as well as my classmates during group discussions and activities.
My favorite section of Hearing Our Way magazine is PACS Pals. I especially loved Meet Christy from the Winter 2017 issue. Reading Christy’s story encourages me to work with children with hearing loss by becoming a teacher of the deaf. I think I would be a good teacher because I have experienced hearing loss myself, so I can identify with what kids with hearing loss are going through. I also enjoy working with kids because there is never a dull moment! I look forward to studying deaf education and becoming a teacher like Christy when I grow up!
My dream career
My dream job was to be a teacher of the deaf. After growing up in Wyoming and going to graduate school in Missouri, I made that dream come true as a first year teacher in beauti- ful Hawai’i. However, I learned that Hawai’i is not necessarily ‘paradise’ for a new teacher of the deaf. Hawai’i faces many challenges around education, and children with hearing loss don’t always receive appropriate services. I needed to use my training and experiences to quickly learn to advocate for my students. Now I’ve branched out on my own with a mission to bring awareness for education and technology and provide private services for children with hearing loss.
After my first year in Hawai’i, I started Hawai’i Hears, an organization designed to bring education about hearing loss and deaf education to teachers, administrators, families, and children themselves. I hope to bring awareness to the state level by reforming laws around deaf education, early intervention, and early amplification. I plan to start a website full of resources for families and professionals and offer one-on-one video chat sessions to serve all of the islands.
The first word I learned when I moved to Hawai’i was Kuleana. It means responsibility, or honoring your own self.
Even though I sometimes feel far from home, my PACS family is always there to support me, even two years after graduation. When they heard about my need for a resource like Hearing Our Way in Hawai’i, the current deaf education class pitched in by donating the money they raised at the St. Louis Walk4Hearing to fund an annual subscription of 100 magazines. Now I can distribute Hearing Our Way all around the islands. Mahalo Nui (thank you very much)!