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This teacher is truly vile!

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Six months ago I started studying an Australian Sign Language (Auslan) accredited course at a government community college. My experience of the Auslan course at this community college has been really terrible. The problem is that this community college is the only place in the whole state where you can study sign language which is actually professionally accredited. You can do community courses but you don't get an actual qualification from them. I started studying Certificate 2, which is the lowest level course you can do at this community college. They don't have enough teachers and they had a very large class of over thirty people, which they couldn't split up because there weren't more teachers to teach the second class. It was difficult to see the signing and sometimes couldn't even get a seat and had to sit on the floor. I know a couple of students complained about this, but the course coordinator kind of just fobbed them off and recommended that they could defer the course. On the college website it says that Certificate 2 in Auslan is an introductory course. It didn't say anything else at all. When the course started, it became evident that it's somehow expected to already know Auslan because it wasn't really a beginner's course. They didn't teach you the Auslan aplahbet or any simpler words, but went straight into more advanced work. The majority of the people in the class actually did already know Auslan beforehand. This was because they had deaf family, friends or partners, or they had done the community courses. I barely knew any Auslan at all and we had to work in groups a lot to practice. I would join a group and the people were good at Auslan and just carried on signing with each other. I was left out and hardly understood anything. We also had a huge amount of assessments and homework. Every week there would be one or two assessments to hand in. They also gave us homework to do outside of class every day to do in our own free time. I work as well, so I was struggling with all of this.


After three months of doing this course, coronavirus quarantine happened and the course started to run on Zoom online instead. Learning sign language on Zoom was really hard because sometimes people would be having a group conversation, and I had to have all the students in gallery view on small squares. So I couldn't really see what people were signing. About four months into the course, this one deaf teacher in the course became a total nightmare to me. One of my friends who had studied with her previously had already told me that she hated the teacher. My friend said that she and and her friend both quit the course because of this teacher and the fact that she only focused on a small group of students in the class who were more advanced. A couple of my other friends in the class also said they found this teacher very intense and that she had favourites.


One time we were supposed to be working in pairs on Zoom, but the person who was meant to be my pair was away. I asked the teacher what I should do and she paired up with me. She was trying to have a conversation with me, but I didn't understand something she was saying, so I told her this. Then later I received an E-mail from her, and she CC'd my two other teachers and the course coordinator into the E-mail. She was saying that she had spoken to my other teachers and they were worried about my Auslan progress. She said I did not understand what we were doing and what she signed, even though we had just gone over it in class. She asked, "how can we help you?" The thing was that I was a bit late to the Zoom class because I was in the bathroom and I did miss that part. Anyway, I replied to her E-mail and I said, could I please give some feedback? I am struggling a bit because the class is too advanced for an introductory Auslan course and it seems like you were already meant to know it. And that a lot of people in the class speak it already and I am being left out when I have to work in groups. However I also said that I now understand a lot more and I'm improving fast. Her E-mail replies weren't very sympathetic and had a blunt tone to them. She basically said that the people in the class who don't have deaf friends or family, chose to do the community courses beforehand and this helped them. I replied that I would have been happy to study the community courses, but I was never suggested this by anybody when I enrolled into this course, as well as it doesn't say anything on the course website. She then suggested that I could defer the course and improve myself before I continue it. This was already four months into the course, and it's a six month course. She didn't actually offer me any help or advice on anything else. My other teacher E-mail me back personally (not in the CC'd E-mail) and said :"Thank you for letting me know about everything you said".


I continued doing the course, but I was finding this teacher rude and abrupt with me. Sometimes when I tried to sign something to her, she seemed impatient and like she didn't understand me and would say something along the lines of "Talk to you later". At the same time she seemed to be very taken with some students who were good at Auslan, and gave them a lot of praise and attention. The course has now finished. The teacher sent me and another student an E-mail with her signing on video, saying that if we want to pass the course, we need to get all our assessments in by June 12. On June 8, which was a public holiday and day off class, this teacher texted me on my personal mobile phone and asked if we could talk. She was being quite fake, saying: "I hope you are having a lovely weekend, sorry to bother you but could we please Zoom or Face Time? Please no stress, as I only want to ask you a few questions". I replied and said yes we can talk, could you download the Google Duo video programme? As I don't have an iPhone and therefore don't have Face Time. Anyway, the teacher called me at 8:30 a.m. on the public holiday on my actual cell phone, and as she is deaf, she was actually using an Auslan interpreter. She chose not to call me on video. I wasn't sure if this is because for our video assignments, we use a screen recording programme and maybe she thought if she called me on video, I would record it. The teacher pretended to ask me how I'm going with the course, and I said that Zoom is very hard. She was then saying through the interpreter that I should consider repeating the Certificate 2 course because I hadn't handed in a couple of assessments yet. Keep in mind that in these courses you don't actually get a mark for your work, only pass or fail. And you can have three attempts to re-submit and pass every assessment. Anyway, the teacher was saying, all the work has to be in by June 12th and it's getting a bit late. You should consider repeating the course. I said to her that I had only two assignments to submit and I still had four days left and I wanted to hand them in and finish the course. The teacher said: "OK, try if you want". And she also said some fake bs like: "But don't get me wrong, I do want you in my class". As if!!! She also said: "Now they will be interviewing students for the Certificate 2 and not everybody will be able to get in." So was she implying that I shouldn't have gotten in?!!


I was feeling furious because the course was literally over, and I had done all my work and everything was pass. It made no sense to repeat the whole course because I only had two assessments left to hand in. And she didn't know if I was going to fail or pass those assessments, and she was telling me to repeat the whole six month course! My other two teachers had never said anything negative to me. They passed all my assignments and also said I was improving and I was doing my best. Also I asked in the student Facebook chat if anyone else got a call from this teacher, and everyone said "no".


I called the course coordinator about this, who is not deaf. I spoke to her on the phone and she seemed fake as well and sounded like she didn't really care that much what I was saying. But she said she would speak to all my teachers and get feedback about me. I immediately finished off my last assessments and submitted by the next day, three days before the cut off date.


The teacher never marked my work a week later. I talked to a friend in my class on the phone who actually has some intellectual disability. She said the teacher also called her on the public holiday on the phone with an interpreter. And said the same thing about repeating the course. And this student actually succumbed to what she was saying and agreed to repeat. But she said that she did submit all her assessments on time, and the teacher wasn't marking them. She had asked the teacher to mark a couple of times, and the teacher never did it. Then I E-mailed the teacher eight days after I submitted my work, and I was polite and said: "Good morning, have you had the chance to check my assessment [assessment name]?" But two days later I get an E-mail from this teacher and she CC'd the course coordinator. She said: "I hope everything is OK with you, I need you to submit your assessment by today, it's the last day". But I had already submitted eight days before and even had sent her an E-mail asking if she could mark it! So she was lying! So I sent her my submission receipt and that E-mail I had previously sent her, and CC'd the coordinator also. This was five days ago and I have received no response whatsoever, and no marks. It's getting very close to the release of results for this course.


Oh, and I had forgotten to mention also that previously this teacher had accidentally given me two different feedback forms for the same work. And those feedback forms were completely different, where she said different things were wrong. But the things she said on one from were wrong, she didn't mention in the second form. But mentioned new things she said I did wrong. Which was very suspicious.


I had E-mailed the course coordinator and said I am not receiving any marks from this teacher. The other student with disability contacted her too and said the same. But the coordinator replied to both of us that the teacher must just be busy. I asked the coordinator, did you get feedback about me from my teachers? She said yes I did. But she never actually told me what the feedback was!


This has all been causing me severe anxiety and stress. I can't sleep at night! One of my friends in the course said, be careful that you don't have a fight with this teacher because she's very prominent in the deaf community. And the deaf community is very small. So I haven't made any complaints about her yet. But it seems like she really doesn't want me to pass the course and she's deliberately not marking my work. So I actually don't know what I can do without burning all my bridges with her and this community college. It's been a very difficult and horrible time :(

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Good grief. I almost had a tension headache start at my temples reading through this. What a terrible time for you. I am very sorry.


Have you heard anything today? When do you receive your final grade?


It sounds like a very packed and overpopulated class. Is it possible that there are so many assignments to mark that they are coordinating between different teachers to mark the assignments? She may not be the only one marking them and seems to have lost track of the student emails.


I think it's a good idea at this point to go directly to the office and ask to speak with her or the coordinator for the program. You can express your concerns as the teacher mentioned not receiving your assignment although you have submitted it and have received no word since. Don't accuse them of doing a shoddy job. Just ask if they could please confirm that they have all your assignments for passing. The point is to pass not to grade the teacher herself. For now, leave feedback about her out of it. Just go to the office and confirm that they have all your requirements for graduating from the course.


I also want to add I'm taking my hat off to you for learning sign language! Very admirable. Good work no matter what.

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I'm sorry, I couldn't stay with this. I'd quit the nightmare course, then study wherever I want to actually learn the requirements, then I'd reapply with the certified course and ace it.


Can I say that it 'should' be this way? No. The problem is what it is, and I'd find my way 'around' it rather than suffer through it only to fail getting what I need.


Instead, go get what you need, and if the accreditation is necessary, apply with a job that will assess the skills you learned and pay for your accreditation.


Head high, and be proactive to move beyond perceived barriers.

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I found out quickly in college that if you didn't have the language in high school, that the college basic course moved so quickly that it would be very difficult for the complete beginner. I had several years of the language in high school and everything i knew but could have used review was pretty much covered by the 3rd class. I thought I would have so aced it, but by the third class there were tenses we didn't cover and were expected to pick it up as if we spent 4 weeks on it. Sink or swim. I think doing some community courses and the taking the college courses to get certified is probably the way to go or ask if there is a tutor. Also, i would try to be proactive in finding a new partner or ask a pair if you could be three way partners. Classes with odd numbers sometimes do that

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Try not to let a personality clash interfere with your aspirations. You have email receipts of everything.

I started studying Certificate 2, which is the lowest level course you can do at this community college. I actually don't know what I can do without burning all my bridges with her and this community college.
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