EarHustle411 will always find a story where the bottom line is positive. This post is about a young woman who is on an island by herself but she is impacting lives. Mrs. Denise Trimble-Smith is the only African-American sign language teacher in the ENTIRE state of Arizona. While some may say that’s a shame, EarHustle411 says it’s a blessing. For those residents who have a hearing disability, and are in need of the services provided by Instructor Trimble-Smith, they will be in for some awesome training.
Denise herself has has some challenges in her own life but as God would have it, he worked through her to help her take those challenges or obstacles and use them as platforms to do what she is doing right now…helping other succeed. She has put her heart and soul into what she does and she is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, where she serves as the president of her chapter.
EarHustle411 and the writing staff gives “EarHustle411 KUDOS to Mrs. Denise Trimble-Smith for not just being the only African-American sign language teacher in Arizona…but for being “THE” African-American sign language teacher in Arizona!!! Keep doing what you do!!
Read more about Denise Trimble-Smith as reported by the AZ Informant:
When you think of the best teacher you ever had, there was something about that person that always grabbed your attention and could make every student in the class excited to learn something new. At Basha High School in Chandler, there is one teacher in particular who is a student favorite – and unlike any other teacher that you will ever come across. Meet Mrs. Denise Trimble-Smith – the only African-American sign language teacher in the state of Arizona.
As a little girl she always wanted to communicate with the deaf. Smith explained one inspiration to learn the language came from the story of a relative who was deaf. “At that time, doctors told my family that she would never be able to learn, and that she was mentally retarded, so they sent her to a mental health institution. While at the institution she was taken advantage of, and never learned how to communicate. When she returned home she would always sit in the corner, isolated from everyone, and I knew something was wrong with that.” Mrs. Smith used this experience as motivation to learn sign language in college, so that other deaf people would not have to suffer like her relative.
Often people find it shocking that Mrs. Smith, a black woman, is a sign language teacher. “I have taught at predominately white campuses so at the schools open house, parents will talk and smile with me, but as they leave you might hear them say to their kids, you never told me she was black.” She continued to say that she finds it funny that people are surprised that she is a sign language teacher, but it only drives her to create an experience for students that they never had before.
What makes Mrs. Smith a special teacher is that she does not hide her personality, experiences, and culture as a black woman from the class. It’s easy to see that the African-American students on campus appreciate having another black teacher on campus. “If a student has a negative reputation around campus it does not follow them in my class. I get to know who they are, not what they are, which encourages my students to do their best,” Mrs. Smith said. Referred by her student as Mrs. T, she is the “momma” on campus. Chyna Dawson, a sophomore attending Basha High, said “It’s really nice to see an African-American teacher especially in Arizona especially in Arizona where you don’t see that many. For me it makes class more comfortable, she is really into the black community, and it feels like we can understand each other on a personal level.”
As you sit and watch her teach the class, you see every student engaged and participating. Being the only African-American sign language teacher in Arizona, she might be the only black teacher her students will have in their life. Knowing this Mrs. Smith feels the responsibility to make the students’ experience in her class memorable.
Source: AZ Informant