Interpreting Lesson for the Taekwondo Master

Interpreting Lesson for the Taekwondo Master

Tonight I walked out on a wonderful opportunity to have my deaf son involved in a top of the art Karate Program.

The reason?

I was not allowed to interpret during  instructions on how to live with a “black belt attitude.” I wasn’t even asking them to provide an interpreter. I was willing to do that, but no…

Now, they were willing to compromise with me. The master said I could interpret when I was sitting down and my son could see me easily from where he sat in the middle of the class. However, I would not be able to stand and move quietly to the back of the class when they turned to face that way. Now, understand, the only time I do interpret is when the instruction is longer than a minute. Normally it includes information on how to ‘stand strong,’ treat others with courtesy, and act at home in a respectful way. To me, these things are MORE important than the kicks, blocks and punches they throw. This instruction is one of the main reasons that I liked this studio.

He told me to sit down!

Tonight when I stood up to interpret just such a message, the Master teaching the class motioned for me to sit down. Are you kidding me? You are talking to my boy about not being bullied at school. You are telling him how he can act so he can earn respect from those around him.

“Well, you could write that information down and discuss it with him later.” Are you kidding me? This is a boy who does not want to listen to his mother, and does not accept what I say for truth very often. However, if I interpret it, it is a different story. He understands when someone else is talking and I’m signing, it’s NOT me! He needs to hear this from someone who has his respect the second he walked in the door. These instructors can instruct a child to show respect to his mother and father, and the kid says, “Yeah, that’s cool.”

“Well, my instructors are taking more time with him than with any other student out there.” Are you kidding me? I have sat and watched the last 3 weeks. You have amazing instructors who make everything very visual for EVERYBODY. Not one of them has singled my son out any more than any other student. You did tonight of your own choice, not because he needed it. He watches the other kids, so naturally he will be behind. He does

n’t hear when the other kids are quiet and there was no way to know he should have also been quiet. How does he know when you tell him to yell and when to not? Especially if you don’t allow me to be up there signing?


“When you get up to do your thing, I lose the attention of half the class.” Are you kidding me? Aren’t you teaching them to have attention and to deal with distractions? Shouldn’t it enhance their ability to be distracted and come directly back to the point quickly? How many of these students see interpreters for the deaf in their schools or in other settings? This is just a life lesson that they will get used to and soon it will not be a distraction at all.

“I have taught and worked with many students in the past who are deaf. I know how to get them the instruction they need, even if it is with private lessons.” He left the implied portion unstated: “They didn’t need to have an interpreter.”

Well, maybe I’m different.

Maybe their parents didn’t know how to interpret the messages that you can’t get just by watching. It could be that their parents were torn that they couldn’t do more for their child and didn’t know how to stand up. Or, maybe their parents were ok watching their little boy or girl sit there while someone wags their lips at them not knowing anything that is being said. Even when their child glances over to them for information – “what was that?” the expression says. Maybe other parents are ok doing that – I am not.

When we got home, my son told me, “My eyes are tired. I had to watch so closely.” Yeah – he is putting forth the effort and trying his hardest to do his best. Yet his Master wouldn’t let him in on the information that will help him do his best in EVERY situation for the rest of his life, not just Karate Class.

We walked out, and we are not going back.




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