March 8, 2010

A New Adventure

i_love_you I took a baby sign language class with Moe when he was a baby. He kind of got "more" but it never really clicked with him and I didn't keep it up. Now I understand that he wasn't really understanding language in general. But with such a strong focus in our house on language, and developing communicative intent, I wanted to start signing again with both kids. I had heard great things about Signing Time, which was formerly on PBS, so I started by getting a Baby Signing Time video. I couldn't believe it when Jelly Belly, all on her own, signed "milk." Now I sign with her all of the time and she has three signs: more, milk, and all done. I think she may also understand dog, mommy and daddy.

We sign a lot with Moe as well, and he will very rarely use signs. When he does he generally will also say the word while he signs. He loves the ST videos and he cries when the ending credits come on. We watch them a lot.

So the timing couldn't have been better when I saw an announcement in the Signing Time newsletter. I've been looking for something to do: some kind of job or hobby to keep my mind working and sanity intact while at home. Blogging has been a great outlet, but it isn't always enough. Immediately, something clicked. Now this was something I could really do!

I researched the requirements for becoming an instructor: one or two American Sign Language (ASL) classes depending on the level of certification you are going for. I decided to take a class online; if I liked it, I could move forward. If not, I would move on. I loved it and took a second class. I'm considering taking a third. But I still couldn't decide if I wanted to actually teach a class. I would be an Independent Contractor authorized to teach the ST material. It would mean starting a (very) small business, including finding locations to teach, charging tuition, and competing with other local baby signing classes.

Finally, this weekend, I took the plunge. I filled out my application, sent in my resume and a lovely letter of recommendation written by my BFF. I decided to go for the first level of certification, which will let me teach to kids three and under with their parents, as well as do parent workshops. In the future, I can upgrade to be an Advanced Instructor, allowing me to teach older kids, as well as professionals, like doctors or teachers who may want to use ASL in their practices. I have a phone interview today and my training materials and curriculum are on the way.

It will still be a little while before I will actually start teaching classes. After I get certified, I'll need to wait until Moe starts school and I know his schedule. I'll have to find childcare for Jelly Belly while I teach. And then I'll have to set up the classes. But a new adventure has begun!

If you aren't familiar with Signing Time, you should definitely check them out, especially if you have young kids under three, and even more especially if you have young kids who aren't yet talking. In future posts, I'll talk more about what ST is all about. I'll also talk about the benefits of signing with kids and how using sign language affects development of speech in hearing babies.

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