At that moment, I realized I had a conscious decision to make. I could get defensive, cry, storm out and say they weren't legally allowed to ask me about my hearing loss (were they? I'm still not even sure?), or I could put my advocacy skills to good use and actually educate them. So I put on a composed front and reassured them that everything would be fine, carefully answering each of their questions. I should note that they were really friendly and seemed to actually care and were genuinely concerned, but it was still a little overwhelming.They barraged me with questions that included (but were not limited to):
- How will you hear in (various listening situations described)?
- There's 2 teachers... one microphone. How will that work?
- What if you and the other girl with the microphone are in the same class? Will it still work?
- Will you tell us if you can't hear?
I could see where they were coming from, and it's certainly easy to think one individual is representative of an entire group, especially since she's the only one in the group of students with deafness they had met! It's a shame that it was a bad experience, but they were open enough to see that I wouldn't be like that. Although I felt I had handled the situation well and responded confidently, I was still extremely worried that I wouldn't be accepted because they would view the FM and hearing loss as an extra burden. As I have posted previously, I was ultimately accepted. The other girl with cochlear implants was accepted as well. At an informational meeting with all of the students, the teachers came up to me to be sure I heard everything okay. They really seem comfortable with the whole idea and I can tell that they care and want me to succeed. I brought up the whole stethoscope issue and mentioned that it was not yet resolved, but we were working to find a solution. They assured me that even if I can't get it to work, they will figure something out and work around it if we have to. Of course I would like to ultimately be able to use the stethoscope, especially if I end up following my current dream of becoming a doctor, but I am really glad to hear they're willing to work with me if it's not possible.
I am really excited for the class. I really do think it will be a great experience. Anyway, the main reason I shared this was to demonstrate how positively they reacted. They openly voiced their concerns and listened when I gave my input, and I do feel that they will work with, rather than against me to solve any problems that might spark up along the way. In the next few posts I will share another experience, but it's not a positive one. Actually, I'm still kind of in the "what should I do?" state. I have received quite a bit of advice and I am trying to figure out my next step.
Anyway.. stay tuned for part 4!