Monday, 17 October 2011

Introducing our Teachers: ALISON PRIDDLE

I thought it was about time our super Sign2Music teachers introduced themselves properly! I am so proud of each and every one of them and, as I keep reinforcing, I chose them very carefully. Therefore I can say without hesitation, we have the best teachers who are a credit to Sign2Music! You may know some of these lovely ladies, but the next few days will be an opportunity to find out more about every one of our team! And if you live in an area where there are no Sign2Music classes and you feel you have what you take to join us, get in touch!

The first brave lady to answer the questions I posed to all the teachers is ALISON PRIDDLE. Here is what she said:

Tell us a little about you and your family?

Mum of two boys Dylan, 8 and Toby, 4. For any of you who are Facebook friends with me personally you will know they are my world and I talk about them a ridiculous amount, but can't stop myself! Toby started P1 this year and so far is loving it..... parent/teacher interview next week so am excited about that!

I have completed Level 1 and 2 British Sign Language (BSL) and have started NVQ Level 3. It's addictive!!

I have recently started as a volunteer support worker/ communicator for the National Deaf Childrens Society (NDCS) and am about to experience my first residential with eleven deaf 8-11 year olds and am very very excited to be a part of that! Obviously I will be working with an experienced team and really cannot wait!

Why did you become a Sign2Music teacher?

I have been a Sign2Music teacher since September 2009. Emma McSparron and I started together and were Deirdre's Guinea Pigs!  Oink Oink ! (OK, I know this is the wrong sound but work with me, lol!)

I attended Deirdre's Sign2Music classes January and April 2009 when Toby was 20 months old and Dylan was 5.  I was already studying my Level 1 BSL, heard about Sign2music and thought it would be a great way to practice. Also, at 20 months Toby wasn't saying a great deal and I had read that signing with babies and toddlers could help with their speech and communication development. IT DID! For the first term Toby didn't sign or say new words but he understood, then 2 weeks into the second term he had a signing explosion. With every new sign came the word, it was such a great feeling and he was so delighted that we understood him!

Signing with Toby has been an incredibly bonding experience for me and him. I have endless stories of signing moments I have had with Toby (which I torment my poor class members with). Even now at 4 he will use a sign if I am too far away from him to be heard or if I cannot understand his pronunciation. It has 100% removed that frustration and the smile on his face when he knows mummy knows exactly what he wants to say is priceless!

Anyhow... there I go again rattling on about my kids. Deirdre approached me, as she wanted to start classes closer to home and needed someone to take over her North Down classes. Knowing I was studying Level 1 BSL and loved the classes she asked me if I would be interested in becoming a teacher and the rest is history!

Where do you do your classes at the moment?

I hold 10 week block classes in Bangor on a Tuesday and Saturday morning. I also run a drop in class at Snakes n Ladders In Bangor on a Wednesday morning. (Contact me for more info on times and costs)

What are you are most proud of about yourself?

I'm proud that I work hard and that my children are my priority.

I'm not proud that I am such a lousy housekeeper and that I spend half my life chasing my tail!! (all self inflicted)

Your favourite signing experience(s) (personally or one that has been shared with you)?

This is tricky to narrow down one experience. I have loved reading books with Toby. Before he could speak he would point out a tiny fish on a page or an emotion on a face of a character from the book. I used
to get butterflies and feel so close to him knowing I could see the book through his eyes. Totally bonding experience!

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Presume we are talking about millions here and not a £10? When the lottery first started I used to say if I won I'd buy myself a brand new Ford Fiesta and would carry on working..... clearly I have
had my head read since then!!

Then I went through a phase (before kids) of thinking I would buy a huge house and foster loads of children, but having my own kids meant I had their feelings to consider in that dream.....

Nowadays.....flip this is a hard question! A home for me and the boys would be amazing, a trip to New York would be on the cards. I'd save lots for the kids for later in life and help family and close friends

Would I carry on with Sign2music?......... You will have to wait and see! lol!

Tell us a secret about you? 

I used to be secretely in love with Shane Ritchie when he hosted Win, Lose or Draw back in late 80's or early 90's!!

Your favourite film? Book?

My all time fave movies are the likes of Dirty Dancing, Beaches, Waynes World.... I'm not a big watcher of films, find it hard to sit and focus for that long lol!

Books... only time I read is on holiday and I like to read light hearted, non serious books... purely recreational! Nothing heavy or too thought provoking! My old brain can't cope!

Who makes you laugh?

Easy.... my kids!

Who inspires you?

I think it is too easy to want to be like an actress, a really influential business woman, politician, charity worker, popstar or like 'yer woman at number 9'. I totally love people and admire people who are 'satisfied and contented' with their lot..... I would love that for my children!

What would you say to someone who was thinking of becoming a Sign2Music teacher?

The hardest part of being a teacher is promoting the classes and finding new babies and toddlers to join the fun..... If you expect the families to come to you with no hard work on your part then this is not the job for you. It takes months and months to build up a reputation....when you get it right it is without a doubt the best job in the world!

I have been overwhelmed with the families who have passed through my classes, some for a short while, maybe only one term. Others are still with me from day 1 and now starting again with their new babies, now on term 7! I would estimate that in the past 2 years I have met around 100 families through my classes... How amazing is that!!

The feeling when you watch a previously shy child grow in confidence, dance and sign in class is unbelievable. The pride you feel when a parent tells you how their child communicated with them, with a grandparent or health visitor is a HUGE! Sometimes I have to fight back tears when parents tell me their signing story (sometimes I just cry, lol!)

Some words I would use to describe my past 6 terms (2 years) as a Sign2music teacher are: Nerve- racking; joy; laughter; bubble machines x10..grrrr...; forgotten words; pride; inspirational; mind-blowing; loyalty and most of all FUN!

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