Teacher feature: Ms. White Teaches American Sign Language


Jenelle Thomas, Managing Editor

Ms. Mary White teaches American Sign Language at Crofton High School after working in an elementary school, tutoring, and homeschooling.

She said she decided to become a teacher after being a substitute as she “fell in love with the students” and the classroom “supporting her kids” so they can be their “ best selves.” She tries to come from a student’s perspective being a high school teacher she needed in high school now for her students. 

Bailey Santoro, a sophomore who has Ms. White for American Sign Language class said: she loves learning about “new signs and talking to new people” not with their voices but through body language and hands.  Santoro said she has a strong relationship with her classmates rather than being isolated “even though I can’t see what they look like.” She’s learned how to have “full conversations” while knowing more background information rather than just their “name and age” while being online. It can sometimes be challenging to understand what videos are saying but Bailey said she uses “context clues with what the signs could be saying and then understands how to say it.” She would enjoy having “more signs, complex conversations with students in the class.”

Sam McGraw, a sophomore who also has Ms. White for American Sign Language said she enjoys that it’s a “fun class” and they do different activities such as “the telephone game.” She agrees that hybrid and virtual learning is different experience and thinks we are “learning more” in this environment.

Last year was very challenging for Sam but she “learned a lot more how hard it is for deaf and hard of hearing people throughout the pandemic” because they can’t see through most masks. The hardest part she thinks is “keeping up and remembering all the signs, as well as the assignments”. She overcomes this by communicating with her peers and helping each other. She loves being in school but “BrightSpace is hard for both teachers and students” and she “hopes that we can solve that problem.