Teaching Sign Language: How to Start a Rewarding Career
The demand for Sign Language teachers is at an all time high. American Sign Language continues to rise in popularity, and simply put, there just aren’t enough certified professionals capable of teaching Sign Language. If you’re interested in becoming a Sign Language teacher, your skills will be highly sought after and you’ll take part in one of the most rewarding careers out there.
Of course, you probably have a few questions about how to get on the path to becoming a Sign Language teacher. This article will give you all the information you need to know to prepare yourself for a career in teaching Sign Language.
- Learn Sign Language — The most obvious place to start is to learn Sign Language. Remember, if you plan on teaching Sign Language, you need to truly master ASL yourself. This means you need to take courses at a reputable college or online ASL learning facility. This isn’t something you will accomplish in just a few months. Becoming a certified Sign Language teacher requires that you’ve been using ASL on a daily basis for years. To do this, you need to make sure you learn from the best. Find experienced instructors who are ASL experts themselves.
- Develop teaching skills — Of course, it’s not enough just to know Sign Language, you have to understand how to teach it. This includes everything from knowing how to impart your knowledge to your students to being able to draft up lesson plans and a curriculum for your own class. You need to have a sound teaching methodology and a firm grasp on classroom management.
- Understand deaf culture — Getting a career in teaching Sign Language is about more than teaching students a few basic signs; it’s about furthering their understanding about deaf culture as well. To become a teacher, you must understand the living patterns, societal structure, values, and history of the deaf. You need to respect their traditions and their beliefs. And you need to know how to pass this information onto your students.
- Get certified by ASLTA — To become a professionally certified Sign Language teacher, you must get certified by ASLTA (American Sign Language Teachers Association). They set the standards for what it takes to get a job teaching Sign Language. For specific details on the requirements to get certified, please view the ASLTA guidelines online (they’re far too long to list here).
- Find a job—Once you’re ASLTA certified, you can start teaching Sign Language in high school or college. — Because ASL has increased significantly in popularity recently, the demand for teachers is higher than ever before. In other words, there are plenty of jobs out there for Sign Language teachers. The ASLTA provides lists job openings on their website for prospective teachers.
Teaching Sign Language is a rewarding career that allows you to spread the beauty of this language and of deaf culture. It will certainly take hard work and dedication to become a certified teacher, but the reward will be worth it.