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1819 N. Main St.
San Antonio TX, 78212

Tips for Faculty


Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at San Antonio College provide interpreting services to students, faculty and staff. It is our commitment to create an accessible learning environment and to work cooperatively with all members of the campus community.

When a deaf or hard of hearing student enrolls in a class, an accommodation provided is interpreter services. An interpreter (or two) will be placed in the classroom and will ensure that all information (whether in Spoken English or signed in ASL) is accessible to both instructor and student(s).

There may be two interpreters assigned to your class. This is to help prevent injury and maintain accuracy. When interpreting for long periods of time, there is a risk of injury to the wrist, arm or shoulder. There is a team to provide support during the interpreting process. When an interpreter is not physically interpreting, they are still attending to the class to ensure information is conveyed accurately and to help fill in gaps when necessary.

Deaf and hard of hearing students usually require seating at the front of the classroom to ensure maximum visibility of both instructor and information presented. Any information that can be presented at a board or on overhead is helpful and allows a more visual access to this material. Remember that in the beginning of a semester, an interpreter signing in class may be a novelty to the other students and they may find it interesting to watch. This usually happens in the very beginning of a semester, but soon the students will look at their instructor and pay less attention to the interpreter. Please be patient. An interpreter should not be a “show-stealer”. They are there to provide access to information!

Here are some “Do’s and Don’t” that might be helpful when working with a deaf student or interpreter in the classroom. This information is presented as a guideline, but if you have any questions, please call Jo Hilton at (210) - 486-1110


  • Speak directly to the deaf student, not the interpreter, when giving instructions or asking questions. "Did you have a question Johnny?" Use “I” and “you” statements when communicating with deaf students through an interpreter and looking directly at the student when addressing him / her ensures a relationship to be established between teacher and student.
  • Speak audibly.
  • Speak at a normal rate of speed.
  • Insist that the hearing students speak audibly and at a normal rate of speed.
  • The quality of the interpretation is enhanced when there is familiarity with the subject matter. It is helpful if you can have materials for the interpreter to review before class whenever possible, i.e. textbooks, handouts, movies for preview, etc.
  • If you intend to show any films or movies, be aware that media, as per Federal Law, must be captioned or subtitled. If you have concerns as to whether your media has captioning please contact DHHS as soon as possible (210) 486-1110 .
  • Ensure that the visual path between the student and interpreter is clear.
  • Allow the interpreter to be located near you, as well as near all visual aids.
  • Get captioned videotapes or give the interpreter plenty of advance notice and opportunity to preview videotapes.
  • Use visual aids copiously.
  • Keep interpreter informed of upcoming class activities.
  • Encourage participation. Include the deaf students in class discussions, questions and answers.
  • When interpreting from spoken English into ASL, there is a slight delay as the information is conveyed. Please give deaf students enough time to respond to questions asked in class before continuing your lectures.
  • Most deaf or hard of hearing students will also be approved for notetakers in class as an additional accommodation. Because of the visual nature of ASL, it is a very difficult task to watch the interpreter for the information, while simultaneously trying to write notes. If a notetaker isn’t placed within the class, it would be helpful if you assisted in finding another student in class to take notes. We can provide special paper, so a copy is made as notes are being taken.


  • Speak to the interpreter instead of the student: "Does Johnny have a question?"
  • Approach the interpreter for information or concerns about the student.
  • Stand between student and interpreter.
  • Turn off all lights (ASL is a visual language and requires that the student see the interpreter).
  • Try to place student and interpreter "away in a corner."
  • Surprise interpreter with non-captioned videotapes.
  • Rush through post-exam reviews. This does not leave the student enough time to look at the interpreter then look down on their paper to check the answers.
  • Ask interpreter to function as ‘tutor, friend, or partner’ to the deaf student.
  • The interpreter is there to interpret everything that is said in class. Please do not ask the interpreter to censor any information.
  • Avoid talking while students are focused on written class work or computer projects. Information for the deaf student is accessed visually. If their attention is on the interpreter, they are unable to work on an assigned project and vice versa.


  • Facilitate communication between deaf/hard of hearing and hearing persons.
  • Prepare for class when necessary by reviewing textbooks, handouts, movies, and materials ahead of time.
  • Refer student questions or problems to the teacher.
  • Interpreters process information cognitively before interpreting. The interpreted message therefore, will follow generally one or two sentences behind the person speaking. Speak naturally and at a reasonable pace to help ensure effective interpreting process.
  • During class, the interpreter will position themselves at the front of the room (either sitting or standing). This is optimal because the student then has visual access to the interpreter and instructor as well as any visual aides that might be used.


  • Advise, counsel, offer opinions or information about, or to, the student.
  • Withhold the message from a consumer (student or instructor).
  • Tutor, explain.
  • Run errands, proctor tests, maintain classroom discipline.
  • Divulge confidential (assignment-related) information.
  • Participate in classroom discussions or activities.


  • With the interpreter present, speak to the student directly regarding the problem, just as you would with any student.
  • Please do not discuss student performance, or lack thereof, with the interpreter.


  • The first course of action would be to speak to the interpreter directly.
  • If that fails to resolve the problem, please contact the Interpreter Services Manager, Jo Hilton, at 486-1110


Assists postsecondary institutions across the nation to attract and effectively serve individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.