ASL teacher brings a new unique approach to teaching
September 20, 2019
As the new school year begins, students adjust to all different kinds of change, one of which being new teachers. One of the newest additions to the Bowie staff is Tyler Bazzi, the American Sign Language teacher, who happens to be deaf himself.
As a deaf person, Bazzi has faced many struggles throughout his life, some of which had to do with communication. In order to adjust, he communicated with others by teaching sign language to friends and people in the community.
“I became sort of a natural teacher through [the] process [of] teaching ASL,” Bazzi said. “Throughout my personal life, friends and family told me, ‘Oh, you should become a teacher!’ and so, I thought, ‘Yeah! I’ll give it a try.’”
His entire life was like training to be an ASL teacher, and through that experience, he became better equipped to teach others the language in its entirety.
“Teaching is part of who I am, this is my native language,” Bazzi said. “Students will get a lot of little things from my life through my communication, my experience, and my knowledge.”
It can be difficult at times for Bazzi to communicate with his students that are less proficient in sign language, a language that takes motivation and effort to master.
“I’m only going to be using sign language, so if you want to be successful, you really need to be willing to open your mind and take the leap,” Bazzi said. “So if you [are] just kind of apathetic about it, you know, you’re going to face a lot of difficulties.”
Despite the obstacles he faces, sophomore Elissa Wechsler compliments Bazzi on his effort and regards him highly as a teacher.
“He’s one of my favorite teachers, he’s really nice, and he wants you to ask questions [so he can] help you with them,” Wechsler said.
Bazzi is mindful in his pace in order to ensure students are set up for success in ASL.
“He’s always slowing down and asking, ‘Do you know what the sign means?’ and then he’ll write it up on the board,” Wechsler said. “And he just has a really nice process and setup, [so] that helps us a lot.”
Just like any other language, it’s important to use ASL consistently in order for it to be of any use to the student. Taking this class allows a student to bridge the communication gap between hearing and non-hearing people.
“If you really want to learn the language, you’re going to have to use it, practice it every day, as much as you possibly can, either with me, with each other, outside the classroom, or even out in the community,” Bazzi said. “Maybe the student goes to work in a fast food restaurant and interacts with a deaf person. It [helps them] use their skills, they can practice it, and then become better and better.”