Day One

So far so…yeah. exhausted. Today was day one of the 2015-2016 school year and it seems like we have been back for months.

Four, 90-minute blocks per day can wear out an interpreter. Please, if you are a teacher that has an interpreter in the classroom, be aware that even though you are talking incidently, we still have to interpreter it so the students have equal access to all information.

I know that the first couple of weeks everyone is trying to get their groove going and this is honestly one of the roughest times for an educational interpreter. So much information that seems like it all need to put out during the whole 90-minutes.

I want to shout it out to the universe that I appreciate the teachers today that had short writing activities to break up the 90-minute lectures. Even though you continued to talk and I still interpreted everything that was going on, it allowed the students to take a break from attending to me, and do what you needed them to do. The students get visually tired watching me for those 90-minutes too. Please remember that.

Looking forward to the upcoming year. Met some really cool teachers and look forward to interpreting for them.


What do you do during testing?

Week two is off to a good start.  The school is doing some testing which can be daunting for interpreters.

In Florida, I couldn’t find any specific information, like an Educational Interpreters Guidelines.  I did find this from the Ohio Guidelines for Educational Interpreters and I think this is how most districts approach testing with interpreters.

For the purposes of statewide testing, sign-language is considered a second language and should be treated the same as any other language from a translation standpoint. The intent of the phrase “sign verbatim” does not mean a word-to-word translation per se as this is not appropriate for any language translation. The expectation is that it should faithfully translate, to the greatest extent possible, all of the words on the test without changing or enhancing the meaning of the content, adding information, or explaining concepts unknown to the student.

In no case should accommodations be provided beyond regular classroom practice. For example, when the student‟s IEP stipulates interpretation, that generally includes interpreting such things as directions, prompts for the writing test, and test questions, including corresponding answer choices. Individual words should not be interpreted; instead, the interpreter may interpret the entire sentence in which that word occurs. Interpretation of reading passages is never permitted since the purpose of the test is to assess the student‟s ability to comprehend text. Interpretation of the reading passage requires the school to invalidate
the test.


This information from the EIPA Guildlines for Professional Conduct gives good insight as well.

Standardized testing is a critical aspect
of assessing the student’s achievement.
Because of this, the interpreter should have
preparation time to discuss test
administration with a professional
knowledgeable about students who are deaf
or hard of hearing and about the specific test.
There are some interpreting practices that
may invalidate test results or may overly
assist the student. On occasion, the
educational team may decide that a student
who is deaf or hard of hearing should have an
alternate method of testing. The educational
interpreter should be familiar with, and
competent to make the language used on a
test as accessible as possible to the deaf or
hard of hearing student.


It wouldn’t seem like this would be a tough interpreting gig but it can be.  Not adding bias takes concentration.  While it’s okay to set up concepts in sign it can not add or change the English word order. Yeah, that level of concentration can wear an interpreter out. Especially when their little faces are looking at you trying to understand.

Thank goodness that isn’t the bulk of our job.


FCAT time!

I’ve been horrible about blogging lately.  I have no excuse….Just laziness.  Here are some quick updates.

It’s FCAT time here in Duval County Public Schools.  Lots of time to meditate between interpreting directions.

Taking a workshop on line about parsing text.  I’m way over my head and loving it.  Not sure if I’m doing it right but it’s making me think outside the box about my product and that’s always a good thing.

My intern is pretty much done with her hours but would like to continue on afterwards to keep honing her skills.  Awesome attitude to have and I hope it pays off for her in the long run.  I think I’m going to work on more team interpreting because I really miss being in the hot seat.

I’ll work on being better about blogging.  Sorry readers.



I got my results back from taking the EIPA (Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment) that I took in August.  I scored a 3.3.  My reactions were all over the place at first. From “Wow, you did better than you thought” to “Oof…shouldn’t you be better than that?”.

I have been working as an interpreter for five years.  I remember reading, or maybe watching a vlog, about how that if you weren’t nationally certified after five years you should find another profession.  This popped into my head the day I got my scores.  Really?  I should just quit what I love?  No, I don’t think that is how any profession works.  You have to learn to hone your skills and develop your craft.  The EIPA team gives you wonderful feedback to help you do just that, become a better educational interpreter.  I still consider myself a very new interpreter with tons to learn and I love to learn.  I try to attend workshops when I can and have found a wonderful community of presenters via the Interpreter Project here in North Florida.

My plan is to test again in 2015 after doing my summer of professional development like I did last year.

Summer Break!!!

“No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all

School’s out forever
School’s out for summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely”

                          – Alice Cooper

What a year!!  I personally have learned a lot about myself and my profession.  I tried to self critique every week and improve my product and I think that has really worked out well.  I won’t lie, this past weeks product was messy.  I am ready for summer just like the kids. 😉

I’m doing a couple of workshops this summer.  One of them is the Silent Weekend in Orlando, FL at the end of June and the other is the Summer Institute with the Interpreter Project at the beginning of August. I hope to improve my skills even more.  Look me up if you are attending either workshop.  The goal here is to test soon for national certification through EIPA.

One exciting thing is that I was chosen to be a Glass Explorer and hope to use Google Glass to work on my receptive skills and see how I can integrate it into being a more productive and prepared interpreter.  We shall see…

For the next few days I will be relaxing.  Looking forward to sleeping in!!


FCAT 2.0 is next week…

The kids have been preparing all year.  They are ready.

As an interpreter my days could either be hectic or very mundane depending on how the students test.

Here are some of the rules from the Guide to FCAT and FCAT 2.0 Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, found on page 22:

  •  Sign language presentation of test items and answer choices on
    FCAT and FCAT 2.0 Mathematics and Science and the topic
    (prompt) for FCAT Writing
  • Sign language presentation of directions of any FCAT and FCAT
    2.0 assessment
  • English/sign or sign/English translation dictionary for students
    who use sign language as their primary means of communication.
    The dictionary must be similar to one used in the instructional setting
    and may not contain definitions of words. The dictionary may contain
    the sign picture, the word, synonyms, and an index.

The Florida Department of Education has some great info on their site.  It’s always a great place to start researching those questions you may have about statewide assessments.

Here are few test taking tips that you might want to remind your students:

  • Read and pay careful attention to all directions.
  • Read each passage and accompanying questions.
  • Read every possible answer–the best one could be last.
  • Read and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test.
  • Reread, when necessary, the parts of a passage needed for selecting the correct answer.
  • Don’t make uneducated guesses. Try to get the correct answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers.
  • Decide exactly what the question is asking; one response is clearly best.
  • Make sure to record the answer in the correct place on the answer sheet.
  • Only change an answer if you are sure the first one you picked was wrong. Be sure to completely erase changed answers.
  • After completion of the test, use any remaining time to check your answers.
  • Keep a good attitude. Think positively!

Good Luck to all of the FCAT takers, administrators, proctors, and fellow interpreters.  


Pure Substances and Mixtures Chapter Vocab

Atom – Are the smallest unit of an element that maintains the properties of that element. – (“A A” like universe)
Element – is make up of one or more of the same kind of atom chemically combined –
Compound – is made up of different kind of atoms chemically combined. Compounds have different properties from the elements that make them up. –
Mixture – contains a variety of elements and compounds that are not chemically combined with each other. Mixtures can be separated by Physical changes. –
Pure Substances – is a substance that has definite physical and chemical properties such as appearance, melting point, and reactivity  (elements and compounds are pure substances)
Homogenous  – Substances are evenly spread throughout – (SAME SAME SAME)
Heterogeneous – mixture is one that does not have a uniform composition (DIFFERENT DIFFERENT DIFFERENT)   –
Suspension – are mixtures in which the particles of a material are spread throughout a liquid or gas but are too large to stay mixed without being stirred or shaken.  If a suspension is allowed to sit, the particles will settle out. – (Wiggly fingers mixture)
Solutions – one substance is dissolved into another substance. – (like Tea)
Colloids – falls between suspensions and solutions – the particles in a colloid are spread throughout a liquid or gas. (They are heterogeneous) – (MIXTURE + DIFFERENT many times)