Communication is essential in today’s world

I love to talk and I can’t imagine how difficult life would be without talking. At work I am teaching a group of deaf students (and will be until Friday) and it has been an amazing experience. It was definitely weird though, when we walk around the museum I like to talk about where we are going, give a bit of history, joke around with the kids… but I couldn’t today. We just walked from place to place in silence.

I couldn’t talk because it would have been too difficult for the students to keep an eye on their teacher while walking. So walking around in mostly silence and having a group of 16 middle school kids so quiet throughout the day was weird and it has made me wonder what it is like to be deaf.

Anything I wanted to say to the group, I needed one of their teachers to sign for me. So it was freaky for me as a teacher to not be able to communicate with my students, because a teacher’s job is all about communication. And so I wondered how it must feel to have a hard time communicating.

To want to talk, and share your ideas but not be able to. Or not to have the freedom to be easily understood. It was so interesting to watch them signing, especially as I talked and someone translated. And when the students were asking me questions, the flurry of hands and the teacher relaying everything really made me think.

Now I’ve been in situations where I don’t speak the language and communication has been tough, but I’ve done it. And when I’ve lost my voice for a few days. But today, it was more different than being in Italy and not speaking Italian and worrying about basic communication.

It was about not being able to hear music, a baby crying, a clock ticking, fireworks, your own voice. And I realized how lucky I am to be able to hear; to be able to talk and someone understand me and respond easily. A few times I attempted to say something and it went through, but it was hard, me using lots of gestures and hoping they could read lips. So the next few days I am so excited to work with an awesome group of students and to learn some sign language and to think about how lucky I am that I can hear and easily communicate with others.

So have you ever had a problem communicating? Or been in a similar situation?