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We have now officially begun our part B of level 6 which means that the theory is over, and the practical begins. It’s time to put together our portfolios.

Which means filming ourselves.

And watching ourselves.

Oh, the anxiety.

Like most people who learn sign language or are qualified Interpreters, I think we get fascinated by other people who sign – especially if they have a beautiful style – but the thought of watching ourselves sign is about as appealing as a hug from a wild bear.

As part of my approach to the portfolio, I have sat down and had a think about how I’m feeling, and how I can tackle any issues I may be facing before I begin (this feels like a very ‘adult’ thing to do, so I’m sure I’ve gotten it wrong somewhere).

Excitement

It’s not all doom and gloom; I am excited to create my portfolio! I’m excited about having the opportunity to meet new people and become more involved in the community. I love meeting people, and I love learning about the different experiences we’ve all had. So I am excited by the opportunity to build new relationships within the community.

Of course, I am most excited to get that qualification. I can only imagine the pride and happiness I will feel when I eventually pass level 6 and can look at the next steps I need to take.

Fear

Yes, with the excitement comes the fear. One of the most obvious fears is, obviously, failure. That all of my clips will be rejected and I will fail. I know that sounds dramatic but I think it is something that everyone going through their level 6 will understand. In a realistic non-drama-queen way, I know that when one of my clips fail, I can simply re-film it. No big deal. But the challenge will be picking myself up off the floor and having the confidence to keep going.

Another fear is much more real, and is nicely linked to one of my personality traits. I am a massive people-pleaser and I hate conflict. So my fear is simple: that I will start filming a clip with someone I have recently met, and I will have absolutely no clue what they are signing to me, which would be an awkward disaster. And the icing on the cake will be that I’ll have it on film. Of course the way to overcome this is to spend time chatting to them first so that there is the opportunity to get to know their signing style and know if it’s going to work – but to me this does not reflect what real-life Interpreting is which is, ultimately, where I want to be.

Challenges

There are many challenges with building a portfolio. Let’s start with the most trivial: finding topics to discuss in clips. Is it just me, or as soon as someone says “what interests you?” or “what hobby could you talk about?” you have a sudden realisation of ‘Oh my gosh, I am so boring’. I have been stuck for three days now, struggling to think of topics I could use for my clips (besides Harry Potter, which is the only topic that’s stuck in my head). But when you’re given free reign of ‘pick ANY topic’ there’s suddenly way too much choice.

My second challenge is finding time to film. My first two clips are due in by 17/02 – but I am on holiday for the next three weekends – giving me Monday-Friday this week & Monday-Friday when I get back to get both clips filmed. It’s a challenge as the thought of  falling behind in the portfolio so soon stresses me out a fair bit.

I feel this challenge wouldn’t be so stressful if I knew lots of local deaf people I could contact who would be free in the weekday evenings; but unfortunately, I don’t. So I need to start the whole ‘getting to know you’ process first.

The good thing is that I am also due to hand in written assignments by 17/02 so to make up for my late BSL clips, I have already written & submitted them.

That’s it for this blog – in my next one I’ll let you know how I got on with the clips and how our first session of in-lesson filming has gone!

I’m off to Florida this weekend to spend some well needed time at Disneyland. So I have, obviously, learnt some basic ASL (just in case). Being a sign language nerd is fun.

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