Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background
A: By the time I was 20 years old I was using 2 hearing aids due to a decline in my hearing, having been born deaf with a severe hearing loss in my left ear. I have always enjoyed sport, running and swam at the World Deaf Games in 1997 in Denmark. I then had my children and got my swimming teaching certificates and starting just casually teaching. As my hearing deteriorated further I went to lipreading classes as I felt I was not managing and just needed something. I also found it difficult sometimes to tell people I was deaf and needed them to face me.
On my first lesson I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but I was captivated and inspired by our tutor Jackie Tromans who later told me she had also trained at City Lit. Having come from a teaching background I saw myself wanting to teach what Jackie taught and when the local charity CELST gave a presentation about tutor training and becoming lipreading teachers for them I jumped at the chance as it was something that I had been thinking about already.
Q: What made you decide to study at City Lit, and why?
A: I knew I had to complete a specialist lipreading course to be able to tutor lipreading and the charity CELST highly recommended the City Lit course. The course fitted around my existing teaching, my own lipreading classes and I liked the format of the course that it was one weekend a month. I was told each session would be an intense weekend with lots of work, but then we had 3 weeks until the next session and this gave me time to process the information learned in the session and do my homework. It suited my learning style.
Q: What does City Lit mean to you?
A: City Lit has opened the door for me to tutor lipreading and make my dream come true. I learned so much during the course, had lots fun, enormous amounts of guidance and support from the tutors delivering the training: Lorraine Braggins and Fiona Pickett.
"City Lit has opened the door for me to tutor lipreading and make my dream come true."
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Q: What are you currently doing?
A: I am delivering two face to face lipreading classes a week at Stratford Upon Avon and Kenilworth for CELST charity. The Kenilworth class I was once a student I am now the tutor as Jackie retired.
Q: What advice would you offer to anyone interested in training in this area?
A: To become a lipreading tutor you need to enjoy working with people who have any type of hearing loss, be understanding and have an interest in this field of study. Being deaf myself has helped as I can relate easily to the topics like background noise, specialist equipment, masks and day to day things that I do managing hearing loss. Not that this is to put people with normal hearing off, they do need to have had some experience with someone with hearing loss, a friend or a relative.
It is very rewarding work so see a new group grow in confidence, make new friends and develop lip-reading skills as we progress through the weeks/months of the course. Its lots of fun too.
The LTTC course is intense and you do need to be organised and be prepared to put the work in. The more you work on the course the more you will get out of it.
Q: Anything else you would like to share with us?
A: As a deafened person, having now just received a cochlear implant, I find teaching lip-reading very satisfying, fun and calming. I have come from a busy teaching background where I often felt stressed, lacking confidence and out of my depth with my inability to hear but going to lipreading classes and then completing my tutor training my confidence has grown and I am now not afraid to talk about my hearing loss and help others in the same situation and educate hearing people about hearing loss.
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