Krista Brown has known for a long time she’s wanted to be a teacher. It was after completing an internship at Sidwell Friends Academy here in Washington, D.C. last fall that Krista really experienced the rewards of being a teacher.
An elementary education major from Illinois, Krista helped teach the first grade class of 24 students at Sidwell Friends. A typical day would see Krista helping her teachers prepare for the day: getting materials ready and brainstorming different lessons. Krista would also teach some lessons herself in mathematics, science, language arts, or history, “depending on the week’s plans.”
How did Krista communicate with her teachers and her students?
“It was a challenge to use an interpreter because it was the first time I used one in a situation like this — normally I am the student not the teacher! My students were very open to using an interpreter.”
Krista’s biggest challenge was making sure that the relationship she established with her students was with her and not with the interpreter. At the beginning of her internship, when she would ask her students to show her their work, they would show to the interpreter instead. However, that changed over time as the students got used to using an interpreter to communicate with their teacher. In fact, during lunch time, Krista would sit with the students and eat her lunch with them, engaging them in conversations without an interpreter.
“I must say that by the end of my internship, they no longer depended on the interpreter. We were able to communicate using ASL and the students loved it much more!”
Krista says her biggest reward is the relationships she has with students, faculty, and parents from Sidwell.
“I still keep in touch with many. In fact, I still visit Sidwell at least once a month.” She says she’s had several parents recently approach her and tell her their children felt very connected with her. “[It’s] very rewarding knowing I have touched their lives somehow.”
December 2009 marked the end of Krista’s undergraduate tenure here at Gallaudet. Since then she has been keeping busy by teaching an English class in the English Language Institute, a program primarily for Gallaudet’s international students, as well as running an ASL club at the Washington International School.
Krista wants to enroll in the Deaf Education graduate program here at Gallaudet.
“I plan to stay in the education field a long time,” says Krista, who hopes to one day start her own charter school in Chicago, Illinois, where as a little girl she had her first dream about becoming a teacher: truly coming full circle.