The Individualized Education Program (IEP) determines the accommodations required for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Educational interpreting can occur in any setting in which the student is engaged in learning. The educational interpreter plays a critical role in facilitating communication between the student, their teachers and peers. Interpreting is the primary and sole responsibility of the educational interpreter.
As we begin the 2019-20 school year, we thought it would be appropriate to review the role and techniques of the educational interpreter with a few reminders.
- Educational interpreters are not classroom aides.
Interpreters are not responsible for any teaching duties including, but not limited to tutoring, reading to the student or class, supervising the class, making copies, grading papers or any other administrative tasks.
- Interpreters uphold the ethical code of conduct regarding confidentiality.
Interpreters maintain confidentiality and do not evaluate the teacher nor report anything to school administration. However, interpreter ethics do not supersede the safety of students or local, state or federal laws.
- Interpreters support students’ access to equal communication.
Teachers and students should understand that interpreters will interpret everything including comments, conversations and sounds inside and outside of the classroom environment. For that reason, an interpreter should never be dismissed when a deaf student is present – even if the teacher says they are only doing independent work. Unexpected situations may arise requiring interpretation for the deaf student.
- Interpreters should always comport themselves professionally.
Even when students are working independently, interpreters should remain in the classroom. The interpreter should remain alert and available to render interpreting services if needed. While Interpreters may read a book, they should refrain from working on personal projects and should keep use of mobile device to a minimum.
- Interpreters establish appropriate boundaries with students and parents.
Interpreters should never correspond directly with students outside of the classroom, nor act as a liaison with parents. Any additional interpreting requests should be directed to school administration and coordinated directly to the agency.
- Interpreters foster positive relationships with teachers and school staff.
Recognize that even the most seasoned teachers may not have experience working with deaf students. Interpreters are there to lend support and:
- reinforce direct communication between teacher and student.
- demonstrate the importance of positioning, lighting and vocabulary content.
- explain ‘processing time’ to the teacher so that they understand interpreting takes time and may require expansion to develop concepts.