deaf@work: SHERYLYNN

NAD   November 25, 2020 in ASL

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[VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Sherylynn is standing in a conference room. The NAD logo is at the bottom right corner.

SHERYLYNN: I grew up with sign language as my first language, really. I had many friends who would ask me to teach them American Sign Language (ASL) and they’d tell me I should become a teacher. I continued to teach because it was fun. I didn’t use instruction books because ASL was my first language, so I taught what I already knew. They told me to set up a beginners class, the idea intrigued me. I moved to Hawaii nine years ago on August 10th, 2010 but it took me one year to set my roots in Hawaii. After I settled in, that’s when I started this program. I offered free classes at first. I invited anyone who wanted to learn. Then, in year two, I charged five dollars per class because I started to see my class size grow. Then my program became official, with fees and all. And this is what I’ve been doing for the last nine years, it has grown tremendously!

Black and white clip of Sherylynn teaching a class. In the center, a white border surrounding white text “SHERYLYNN” underneath, appears in white text “ASL TEACHER”.

SHERYLYNN: My name is Sherylynn Summer, I’m an ASL teacher in Hawaii and I own an ASL teaching business.

Black and white clip of Sherylynn teaching a class off screen.

SHERYLYNN: I grew up in San Diego, California. I went to a mainstreamed program at Madison High School, and graduated in 2002. And, college? I didn’t go to college, I decided to enjoy life after high school.

Black and white clip of various papers scattered on a table. Some of these papers have ABC fingerspelling images on them.

SHERYLYNN: I was a part of the Jr. NAD chapter at Madison High School. Freshman year, I was a member. Sophomore year, I was the secretary. Junior year, I went to the Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) in 2000 in Oregon. When I came back from YLC, I became President of the Jr. NAD chapter. It was a great experience and being president was a huge responsibility! I saw a transformation in myself from being quiet to becoming the president -- I really didn’t think I would ever become the Jr. NAD President if not for YLC!

Black and white clip of ASL students practicing sign language.

SHERYLYNN: I teach a program for students who want to learn and for people who cannot speak. This program isn’t simply just teaching ASL. I also provide an option for homeschool students who do not go to a public school -- they can take my ASL class. My program includes a lot of one on one opportunities where I often follow their pace.

Black and white clip of Sherylynn teaching a class off screen.

SHERYLYNN: Now, how did it all start? Well, I was shy and quiet, I barely talked - until I got involved with Jr. NAD in High School! When I was a Junior, they told me to go to YLC. Before YLC, I was pretty quiet. Then I arrived at YLC and it was one month that gave me an overwhelming experience. I learned how to be a leader. I also learned how to be myself, what I could do and started believing that I can do things! It was nice to break out of my usual circle of friends and meet other deaf people from across the country. There were different signing styles, different experiences, and different perspectives. Now, I’m no longer shy and I’m constantly overcoming challenges. I also got involved in the hearing community. It’s easy to become too comfortable with your deaf peers, I wanted to explore the hearing community too.

Black and white clip of a hand pointing at papers in a binder. White text appears at the bottom center, “Get a Vocational Rehab Counselor and they’ll help provide resume support, financial support, and more. Let them know what you need and they’ll figure out what opportunities are available out there for you!” Light blue text “- Sherylynn” and a light blue line outlines the left side of the text.

SHERYLYNN: Students gain so much more when their ASL teacher is deaf. Sometimes programs at colleges and schools don’t require deaf teachers -- unfortunately programs offered on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are mostly taught by hearing people. This is the norm! With my program, it’s usually the first time hearing students meet a deaf person.

Black and white clip of Sherylynn teaching a class off screen.

SHERYLYNN: I didn’t expect to become an ASL teacher, but it has changed my life!

Black and white clip of Sherylynn teaching a class off screen. Video cuts to a dark blue background. Red alphabet letters of "N-A-D" in American Sign Language appear one by one in the center of the video. The copyright text appears in white underneath, "National Association of the Deaf, Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved".]

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