Two weeks back to school, into my Level 1 Sign language class at the Y that is. I still couldn’t shake off the thick layer of rust building up steadily on my hands and in my brain.
During the first class the Deaf instructor KW asked me when I completed my basic level sign language by signing. I looked at her with startled eyes, opened mouth and a confused face when she done signing, exactly like an idiot! She repeated a couple of times, patiently, before it finally got through my thick skull. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reply because I couldn’t remember exactly when I completed it at that moment. Well if I did remember, I don’t think I could sign it either. “How do we sign November last year?”
The Level 1 class this time around is small. There were only 5 of us. I’m the thorn among the roses. As we are not supposed to talk, or communicate verbally in the class, there wasn’t loads of interaction among us fellow students. No idea what their names or what they do. We were only introduced with our sign names. Of course I couldn’t remember any of them. The ladies are all in their 20s or early 30s, quiet, soft spoken and church-going type.
More people showed up in the second class, 2 to be exact. They are twin sisters, students. Hence I’m still the thorn in the class. Second class was a speaking class, the only speaking class throughout the 15 sessions. We had a hearing instructor, S for the second session. He went through the syllabus with us. This time around the assignments (note the plural) are more and heavier. There are observation report writing, Deaf interview and Deaf event reporting. On top of that there are more scary tests such as vocabulary test, comprehension test, dialogue, pictorial story telling, and sentence writing test. Oh did I mention that the passing marks 70%?
The second class yesterday also confirmed my first-impression analysis about the ladies. After the run down on the syllabus, S asked to share why we learn sign. The answers from most of the ladies were church or religion related. The first lady, A, professed she is a Christian and it was a divine calling to learn sign. Two ladies, L and J said they learn sign to communicate better with the Deaf parishioners of their churches. Wow! Those are some very intense, kind and noble intentions. What drives the twins to pick up sign is rather original, I would say. It’s science. Their interest stemmed from an audio and sound wave lesson in a Second Form science class.
What about me? Why do I learn sign? It’s simple really, I love languages. I find sign language super duper cool and super duper fun.
I just remember how to sign BULLSHIT!