By: Nicole N.
For three years, Mrs. Robertson has been teaching students American Sign Language at DHS.
Mrs. Robertson’s interest in ASL began when she was in college. “ I decided to take a summer course at Gallaudet University,” Mrs. Robertson said. “There, I met my now husband, Brad, who inspired me to learn more about ASL everyday. We now have two wonderful sons, Drew and Owen. Drew is hard-of-hearing, and Owen is hearing.”
Mrs. Robertson has been teaching ASL for eleven years. This is her third year teaching ASL as a foreign language at DHS. Mrs. Robertson said, “Because of ASL, I met an amazing man, and now we have a beautiful life together. I have two jobs that I love, interpreting for the state of Massachusetts and teaching the best kiddos right here in Duxbury.” She didn’t originally know that she wanted to start teaching ASL. She said, “I believe in fate, so I know that fate led me to living in a community which has shaped me into who I am today. I couldn’t possibly imagine life any other way.”
Mrs. Robertson said, “To see students venture out, making ASL and the Deaf Community a part of their lives fills my heart with so much joy.” She said that Deaf Social Events are essential for those interested in Deaf Culture. “There is only so much you can learn in the classroom. Socializing is where you truly learn about the culture and the language. The more there are people who sign and are exposed to Deaf Culture and ASL, the more educated people will become about Deafness not being a disability, but a wonderful gift.”
Mrs. Robertson believes that people should open their minds and hearts more often to look at the world with a different perspective. “There is so much to learn about each community and culture. If you really think about it, what does “normal” actually mean?” She says that knowing a second language is generally ideal, and that ASL is practically more useful for her because she lives in the Deaf Community most of the time. “I can’t say learning one language over another is more practical; it’s just all about the perspective. Would I like more people to learn ASL? Of course! The more people who sign, the more my husband has access to communicate with the world.”
Mrs. Robertson is highly passionate about ASL and sharing it with her students is what she loves the most about her job as a teacher. “I love seeing students who think they won’t be able to sign blossom into such beautiful signers because I can practically see the confidence they’ve gained. For example, many students are fearful of public speaking, and to eventually watch so many of those newly confident students get up in front of hundreds of people to sign the National Anthem is amazing.”
Students from Mrs. Robertson’s classes recommend others that they take ASL if they want to learn more about Deaf Culture and the language. Sophomore Paul P. said, “ASL is an amazing language.” He said, “[The language] isn’t too difficult to learn. The class helps us communicate better with people in the Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing Community.”
Mrs. Robertson has influenced her students in many ways. Junior Thomas C. said, “Mrs. Robertson has taught me to really appreciate what I have instead of worrying about what I don’t have.” He said, “She isn’t just a great teacher; she’s someone who genuinely cares about her students and is willing to help a student, whether it be related to school or not.”