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last updated Fri 27 Jul 12

Reading Pieces

Interview with Ann Croy - a deaf teacher of the deaf

Q: What part of New Zealand do you live in?

A: I was born in New Plymouth in the North Island. Most of my life was spent in New Plymouth. I have also lived in Auckland and Palmerston North. I have lived in Christchurch for the past seven and a half years.

Q: Where did you go to school?

My mother made all my clothes and sewed a pocket in the front of my dresses for my body worn hearing aid and cut a hole in the pocket to enable the microphone to pick up sound. I liked to cover up my body worn aid too! Wearing a cardigan was very useful for this!
For my intermediate years I went to Highland Intermediate School.
I attended New Plymouth Girls’ High School, which was the same school that my mother and my daughter went to.

A: I was educated in the mainstream in New Plymouth. I went to Central School for my primary years. The school is now demolished and a supermarket has been built in its place.
I always had to sit at the front of the class throughout my schooling. I was self conscious about wearing my receiver in my ear and wore a headband over it to hide it.

In those days there were no Itinerant Teachers of the Deaf, Teacher Aides or Sign Language Interpreters to help and support me in class. I did however have very regular speech therapy. At that time speech was considered the number one priority.
In addition to this an Advisor on Deaf Children visited me at school twice a year.

Q: Where do you work now?

A: I now work at van Asch Deaf Education Centre, in Christchurch, teaching deaf children.
I currently teach a class of year seven and eight students.

Q: Where did you study to become a Teacher of the Deaf and how long did it take you?

A: I studied for three years at Palmerston North College of Education to become a primary school teacher. I also studied at Massey University at the same time (concurrently). I received a Diploma of Teaching on the 3rd of December 1994.

I then came to Christchurch to study at the Christchurch College of Education for one year on the Teacher of the Deaf Course. On the 1st of December 1995 I was awarded the Diploma in Education of the Deaf and the Hearing Impaired.

After finishing my course in Christchurch I went back to Palmerston North to complete my degree at Massey University. My Bachelor of Education Degree was granted on the 7th of May 1997.

In 2000 I began studying for my Master of Special Education, in Sensory Disability, which was taught through Renwick College as part of the University of Newcastle in Australia. I stayed at Renwick College, in North Rocks, Sydney while I was studying there. I have also taken two papers through Victoria University in Wellington, towards my masters degree.

Q: What are the best parts of your job?
A: It has to be seeing my ex-students becoming successful in many different areas of their lives. Other highlights were having a student have her story published about Pompeii, in Tikity Boo, Duffy’s Third Anthology of Children’s Writing and Illustration.
Another student received a letter in 1999 from Jenny Shipley, who was then Prime Minister of New Zealand, for a highly commended letter in the Books in Homes Budget Day Letter Competition.
I also really enjoyed having pet mice in my classroom. The classroom pets provided lots of opportunities for the students to take care of them, show affection and to learn to be responsible for the animals.

Q: Do you think school is important for Deaf students?
A: Oh yes, yes, definitely! This is the only way to survive in the hearing world. Also it enables you to gain qualifications to get a good well-paid job.

Q: What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any interests or hobbies?

A: What spare time! In my limited spare time I enjoy reading, cross- stitch and taking care of my pot plants. My favourite types of books are non-fiction.

Q: What is the best thing about being a Deaf Adult?
A: I’m happy to have been a pioneer for other Deaf people to follow. I’ve been through a lot such as discrimination due to being Deaf, no interpreters, no equal rights and being part of the male dominated world of the 70’s and 80’s. I’ve come a long way to make it this far. I have come a long way to achieve my dreams. I am very determined and I will not give up! Hopefully my past struggles will make the road smoother for other Deaf people to follow. Today interpreters are more readily available and New Zealand Sign Language is being considered as an official language of New Zealand. There is more support for mainstreamed Deaf students. I had no in-class support during my primary, intermediate or high school years, except for a visit from the Advisor on Deaf Children twice a year at school and speech therapy. At tertiary level more support is available to Deaf students now.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say?
A: For many years a lot of Deaf children did not have any positive Deaf role models to look up to. When Deaf students first met me they were surprised, shocked and amazed to meet a Deaf teacher. For years they had had low expectations of themselves. I think I must have broken the barrier for them to be able to think ahead and plan a successful career. Education opens thousands of doors for Deaf people because it gives them the opportunity to become a successful Deaf adult in the twenty-first century.

awarded Given
College of Education Where you go after you have finished high school or have been working to learn how to be a teacher.
cross stitch A stitch formed by two crossing stitches.
demolished Pull or knocked down.
discrimination To distinguish unfairly against someone.
highlights Something of great interest.
mainstreamed Go to school at regular hearing schools.
male dominated Men having lots of influence over the lives of women.
university A place of higher learning and research.




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