Dedicating to Teaching Hearing-impaired Children

September 10, 2014  Editor: Frank Zhao
Zhao Huina. []

When she steps into the Guanxian Special Education School in Guan County, east China's Shandong Province, Zhao Huina is greeted by her students.

Over the past 10 years, Zhao has developed close relationship with this group of hearing-impaired children and treated them as her family.

Inspired by a dance performance by a group of hearing-impaired dancers years ago, Zhao came to the idea of becoming a teacher to teach hearing-impaired children.

When Zhao showed up at the Guanxian Special Education School on her first day, however, her confidence and excitement was undermined by the fact that she was unable to communicate with her students, who only made simple gestures with some speaking what she was barely understood.

Considering whether she should stay at all, Zhao was amazed at her students' attempts to greet her. Since then on, she has determined to help them overcome their disabilities and embrace a better future.

Efforts to Learn and Teach

What Zhao learned at college was not education for the disabled, so she had to learn from her fellow teachers and learn by herself. In the first few days, she took a pile of heavy books with her to learn sign language.

When she was finally able to communicate with her students with sign language, she began to prepare for each class carefully and made teaching materials by herself to develop the children's abilities to speak.

As many hearing-impaired children have normal vocal systems, Zhao and her school focused on helping students to speak. During her class, Zhao applies the method of 'reading, touching and imitating.'

Zhao asks her students to read her lips first, and then touch her throat to feel the vibration of vocal cords. Her students then imitate and touch their own throat to make sure vocal cords vibrate.

When student Wang Yangai came to the school, Wang was unable to speak at all. Under the help of Zhao, Wang kept trying and keenly learned how to speak from her teacher. After numerous failures, she finally learned to speak her first word.

"No matter how tedious, I will help them learn how to speak," said Wang.

Thanks to her and her students' efforts, her students learned how to speak basic words and communicate with sign language. More importantly, they learned how to write, read and do mathematics.

In March 2013, the mother of Wang Zhenhang, an 8-year-old boy, came to school to thank Zhao for her work. "I used to teach him to call me mom, but he could only move his lips and made no sound. After this term, he is able to pronounce dad and mom clearly," said Wang's mother. "His father and I are so happy. Thanks for your patience and efforts."

Watching the mother who shed tears with joy, Zhao felt fulfillment as a teacher of students with hearing impairment, and that her job was meant to relieve the burden on society and family.

As many students live at school, Zhao usually takes care of some who have become homesick when she takes the night shift.

"It is painstaking to be a teacher like Zhao," said a doctor surnamed Li who runs a clinic next to the school.

However, Zhao never complained. In her classroom, she teaches students to speak, in the dining hall, she feeds the youngest ones, and in the students' dormitory, she fixes their clothes and washes their bedding.

Over the past few years, she has seen her dedication pay off. On teachers' days, her students made delicate gifts for her, they bring their favorite snacks to her, and they fetch her a cup of hot water when she catches a cold. Deeply moved by their love, Zhao is proud of being a teacher at the school.

Teaching More

Apart from knowledge, Zhao also focuses on equipping her students with righteous values and skills. She often tells her students to take a proper view of their disabilities, and learn to have self-esteem, be confident, independent and strong. She teaches them how to do cross stitches and make paper flowers.

Zhao also teaches students how to dance. Without the beat of the music, she divides a dance into several sections and tries to interpret the dance to her students with gestures. She breaks every section into individual actions and teaches her students to perform every action from time t

o time. It usually takes her a month to teach students how to perform a dance of five minutes.

On the National Day of Helping the Disabled in 2006, Zhao's students performed a dance at the celebration gala, which moved many of the audience to tears.

In order to further improve her teaching skills, Zhao attended training sessions at national and provincial levels in 2012.

Because of her outstanding work, she was named as an excellent young worker, excellent teacher, and one of the top teachers by the local educational authorities.

(Source: and edited by Women of China)

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