"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."

"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."

~Mohandas K Gandhi

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I spend my days

I am a sign language interpreter.  I work full-time in a school district.  Most of my time there, I have worked in the high school; this year, I work in the high school in the mornings and the middle school in the afternoons.  The district I work in is a receiving district for deaf and hard of hearing kids from all over the northern third of New Jersey.

I go into "regular" classes with the deaf kids, and anything the teachers or hearing kids say, I sign, and anything the deaf kids sign, I voice for them.  I'm not their teacher, and do not grade them.  I can and will advise teachers as to whether something they expect is, for example, typical for a deaf student, though.  One example is a class I am interpreting this year.  The teacher gave a test, and part of the test involved short-answer questions.  The teacher showed me the responses from a couple of the deaf kids, to find out if they made sense to me.  (One student essentially wrote in American Sign Language order and grammar, but the answer was the correct answer, so she gave credit for that.) 

I have a degree in Education of the Deaf, and a degree in Interpreting for the Deaf.  Yes, interpreting is a real job that one needs to train for.  Anyone who knows some sign language cannot just go out and start interpreting.

I like working in the schools- the kids have a way of keeping me young, which is good because I have a tendency to take life far too seriously.  Working in schools, however, really wasn't the most intelligent career choice I could have made, what with all my health issues.  Schools, as we all know, are veritable petri dishes, filled with germs, and kids who don't wash their hands or cover their sneezes.  I've had more than one occasion when a kid coughed or sneezed near or on me, and all I could think was, "Damn, that's going to suck in about four days." 

The benefit of working in a school, if one has health issues?  The fact that I only have to show up for work 180 days a year, and I get ten sick days on top of that.  Also, the whole getting out at 3pm thing- if I feel like I'm sick, I can call my doctor and get an appointment that day for 3:30pm or so, and have time afterwards to go to the pharmacy and get whatever scrip he's given me, before I have to go pick up my son at daycare...and never miss a moment of school. 

Oh, and the health insurance is pretty good, too.  Even if they do give me a hard time about...well, pretty much everything. 

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