Pine Whispers

Falk inspires through more than just words

Maggie Frail, Staff Writer

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Aimee Falk has inspired students for years to learn about a method of communication they may have never been exposed to: American Sign Language.

Falk has been an ASL teacher and interpreter at Reynolds for the past six years but was a community interpreter for several years before.

“I’ve always been drawn to education and when I was an interpreter it just wasn’t satisfying enough,” Falk said. “I always knew I wanted more and to see students get really excited over learning a couple of signs from their deaf peer or their interpreter really pushed me towards wanting to get my degree.”

Falk most enjoys when she notices students connecting with the language.

“When a students finally gets a concept they had been struggling with or they understand something I sign in a sentence or a question and to see their face light up,” Falk said. “I call it an ‘aha’ moment and I love seeing that on any students face.”

Even though Falk’s class places a lot of value on learning ASL, she has taught her students more than just the language. She has taught her students lessons on how to overcome challenges life throws at them.

“She taught me to be confident with myself,” senior Adele Thomas said. “She really taught me that you can do anything that you set your mind to.”

Falk has also been teaching her students how to be prepared and that their actions are impactful on others around them through a Harry Potter point competition.

Each of her classes take a sorting hat quiz and are sorted into gryffindor, slytherin, ravenclaw or hufflepuff based off the story. Throughout the year the classes earns points for their actions, such as being on time to class, everyone passing a test or quiz or even making a good pun. They can also lose points if she has to provide a pencil, take a phone away or if someone has to written up.

“In a way it teaches them how to be prepared for class and to rely on each other,” Falk said. “It also teaches them that their actions can impact other people.”

Falk started signing at a young age to give someone in her class who was hard of hearing another friend and someone to communicate with. She started out learning from a book her parents bought her and went on to major in ASL at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Her students might think she is fluent in the language but she sees it a little different.

“It is not my native language but I’m always learning so I don’t know if I would consider myself fluent,” she said.

One of Falks biggest accomplishments as a teacher is creating the ASL curriculum alongside Deaf and Hard of Hearing teacher Christine Parish, being the reason we have the opportunity to take the course.

“We went from being just at Reynolds to six different high schools here in Forsyth County,” Falk said.

The class has endeared itself in the hearts of many of the students who took it.

“Honestly I’m going to miss everything about it,” Thomas said. “I love the class and the atmosphere that she creates in class. She is always there for us if we need her and always offers the best advice with anything going on in our lives.”

 

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The Student News Site of RJ Reynolds High School
Falk inspires through more than just words