Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When There's Just Too Much Noise...

Recently, I was once again assessing my first graders on their sight word list. It's something I perform each month to measure their reading growth. Mini-mic positioned onto their shirt collars, I attempt to test individual children while the rest of the class is engaged in at least a semi-quiet activity.

It doesn't always go as planned.

Most of the time, there's just too much noise to hear the child who is reading effectively enough to get an accurate score. I have to settle for something close, if not exact.

I resort to lip reading, I confess. "Say that again," I repeat over and over again, watching them form the sounds of the letters on their lips. Sometimes when I ask them to repeat the word, a child will think it's because they missed it. Then I watch them search their brain for a reason as to why they missed it. I am constantly reassuring them that I just couldn't hear them well enough to know if they said the word or not.

In between the "Say it again" and the "Use it in a sentence" and the "One more time", I am shushing the rest of the class continually. First graders make a lot of noise, no matter what they are doing. And that noise often makes it near impossible to work with children individually.

Added to the mix is my student teacher. She is guiding some students in completing a math lesson while I test a few more students and my CI picks her voice up louder than my reader. I reduce my sensitivity settings hoping that will help. The difference is negligible, so I quietly slip the CI magnet from my head, disengaging the sound as I do so. Then maybe I can focus on the sound being piped from the mini-mic into my hearing aid. It doesn't really help. There's just too much noise.

So I do the only thing I can think to do at the moment. I tell her to finish the assessments.

She is done in record time.

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