Some Things are Hard to Explain

Recently, one of my friends alerted me to the fact that our local school district posted a job listing for an interpreter.

For $13.70/hour and benefits.

I can’t even begin to tell you how inadequate that is. I flew off the handle.

Upon further exploration I found that the job listing was for a “Hearing-Impaired Interpreter”. The requirements were, knowledge of sign language, 60 hours college credit OR passing the ParaPro test.
This made me realize  that there were one of two things going on:
A) They’re not looking for an interpreter, they’re looking for a signing Paraprofessional
or
B) They have absolutely NO idea about the interpreting profession whatsoever.

The listing was taken down within 24 hours and I’m pretty sure my friend thinks I’m crazy for becoming enraged after learning about this job posting. It’s hard to explain why this situation is so messed up, so I’m going to try and use a hypothetical.

Suppose you go through a really intense college program, like Radiography (MRI,CT, Ultrasound) for example. You graduate and get a pretty sweet job that pays you well. In fact, it pays you so well that the mountain of college loans you took out don’t seem as hopeless anymore.  Then one day your friend sends you a text message saying that the hospital across town is hiring Radiographic Technicians for $13.70/hour as  long as they have knowledge of radiography and 60 hours college credit.

Let’s be honest, you can’t even fathom this situation because it would never happen. The sad, infuriating truth is that it happens all over the U.S. with sign language interpreters.

My profession is neither respected nor understood by the general public. People think any monkey can wave their hands around and it means something.  There is certification and in some states licensure that has to be followed, none of which were mentioned in the requirements for that job. The truly unfortunate part is that if that job posting hadn’t been taken down, some kid who just graduated high school and took ASL as an elective would have taken that job.

Who suffers in that situation? Not the 18 year old making $13.70/hour and benefits. No, the child will suffer due to the fact that their only access to language is an incompetent, albeit well meaning 18 year old. Just like all the patients receiving sub par (ok sub par doesn’t even begin to describe what would happen) health care in my ridiculous example above.

The students in our community deserve better! So bravo to whoever stepped in and made sure that job posting was pulled off the website. I don’t know who you are, but I would love to buy your a drink!

I understand that some of you still don’t understand what a huge irresponsible mess this could have turned into. All I can say is: I

Imagine if that interpreter were put in front of your deaf child.

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