Hello! I’m Jamie Love. I live in Holdrege, but I'm from West Jordan, Utah. My whole life I was the loud kid. I couldn't hear myself, so I assumed others couldn't, either. Of course, I didn't realize that's what was happening until adulthood.
During my third year of teaching, I had two students who were deaf. I worked with the School Audiologist on a fairly regular basis. One day, I casually mentioned that it was nearly impossible to hear my students when I was providing services in their classrooms, but did okay when I was providing services in my classroom. She informed me that district employees receive a free hearing evaluation.
After the evaluation, she explained my audiogram.
She recommended getting hearing aids, so I went to the hearing aid specialist in town. When I got them, I remember the specialist giggling as I started looking around to figure out what I was hearing that I hadn't heard before. He said, "that's the AC." I was baffled - I had no idea it made noise!
It wasn't until much later that I began taking ASL classes. Through my time at Gallaudet, I really came into my identity as a deaf individual.
I didn't know I was deaf until I was 24, so I grew up speaking and listening. I've always used Closed Captioning.
I got hearing aids at 24 and didn't start learning ASL until 30. While I still have more to learn, I really enjoy ASL. I have multiple students I sign with (whether they use ASL or not). I have a few Deaf adults and some other ASL users who I sign with frequently. Even before I started learning ASL, I noticed that I understood way more when an interpreter was present!
I did well in elementary school when I lived in a smaller town. When I moved to Utah (5th grade), I started to struggle. Looking back, I realize it was partly because the classes were bigger and noisier. My 6th grade teacher always had at least one light off and she constantly walked around the room. Starting in Junior High (7-9 in Utah), most of my teachers had the lights off because we still used overhead projectors. They also assigned seats. Since I wasn't a difficult kid, I usually ended up in the back row.
School got harder as I got older. My 10th and 11th grade math classes were, by far, the hardest for me. I now realize that it's because the room was completely dark except for the overhead. Sy teacher would sit right next to it, and her mouth was usually covered by a shadow. If the lights were on, she'd stand with one elbow resting on her crossed arm, holding her notes right in front of her mouth.
My high school was also really noisy! I graduated with just under 1,000 students (we had almost 4,000 students in the school - 10-12th grade), so you can likely guess how loud it was on a regular basis! Even though we had 4 different lunches (to reduce the amount of students), I still didn't like to eat in the cafeteria. I couldn't ever understand people. A bunch of us on drumline ate together in the band hall, which helped! When I taught in the preschool my junior and senior years, I ate in the room we had right off the preschool with the other teachers. It was much quieter with 8 people than with 800!
York College (now York University) is where I earned my first two degrees. Classes that were Generals were bigger than my education classes, but still much smaller than my high school classes (the entire campus was less than half of my graduating class!). In my elementary education classes, we had 7 students. In my special education classes, there were 2 of us. I didn't struggle as much in those smaller classes! Even before I knew anything about my deafness and which ear was better, I would always sit right up front, with my left ear to the professor. The classes I struggled the most in were Generals where the professors kept the lights off and only used projectors (why is it always math and science?!)
I got my first Master's Degree online through K-State. CC was provided for the videos and all assignments were group projects (all online, so I only had to read, not listen).
By the time I got my second Master's Degree, I knew I was deaf. I reached out to the disabilities coordinator. It was all online through UNL. Very few live lectures were required. When they were, they provided live captioning. All other media had CC and/or a transcript provided.
My ASL Certification came from Gallaudet University. Everything was either written or in ASL. That was, by far, my favorite college experience!
I currently serve as both Transition Coordinator and Teacher of the Deaf at ESU 11 in Holdrege. I have always taught in the area of special education and have served birth through 21 over a span of 11 years.
In high school, I worked in a grocery store. They created a seasonal position just for me so I could work during college breaks.
My last two years of undergrad, I worked as a server and bartender. People were usually understanding when I told them I couldn't hear in those situations.
I have truly loved every job I've ever had, but my current job is, by far, my favorite. I was NEVER going to teach high school. And here I am - loving it! In order to finish my most recent degree, I needed to complete my practicum hours. I did not want to leave ESU 11, so I asked if it was possible to create a ToD position so I could stay. I am so glad they were able to! I LOVE what I do!
Hobbies and Interests:
Now that I'm a mom, my hobbies include drawing with chalk, putting together puzzles and Legos, reading to my kids, and playing outside (should I add constantly cleaning up after tiny humans?). We also love to go to museums, watch documentaries, and learn about animals and how things work.
I also enjoy working out, yard work, and home renovations (we currently have 4 project houses!)
No one else in my family is deaf (my grandparents have lost their hearing). My husband and I have two children (ages 7 and 5). They are all trying to learn ASL
Never feel like an inconvenience asking for what you need! You deserve the same access as anyone. Call people out when they say unkind or untrue things. Education is powerful - educate people about who you are and what you need! "Deaf" is not a dirty word. ASL supports learning and comprehension, even if you choose not to use it exclusively. Find Deaf mentors and participate in opportunities with other DHH individuals.