IE39: Joe Rivera. The Power Of Silence. Lessons From Teaching The Deaf.


Joe Rivera

As a high school student, Joe was already assisting his teachers in communicating with the deaf students through sign language, often filling in for the interpreters running late.  Even with his limited knowledge of the American Sign Language, Joe played a pivotal role in bridging the communication gap for his fellow students and teachers.  His passion for the silent language and strong desire to empower the deaf students would lead to his current position as a teacher.  

Mr. Rivera is a middle and high school teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at Los Angeles’ one of a kind school for the deaf, the Marlton School.  The many challenges Mr. Rivera’s students face range from the daily routines of the classroom to effectively communicating within their own neighborhoods and even basic expression within their own households; many family members don’t know sign language.  As Joe has done for his deaf classmates in high school, Mr. Rivera once again is playing a pivotal role in bringing families together. Frequently, Mr. Rivera is the only person who is able to effectively communicate the needs and feelings of his students to their parents.   

Joe’s story was featured on CBS News as one of the inspiring young teachers making a difference and joins us today on Inspiring Educators to share his inaugural year as a teacher.  Like a magician, without spoken words, Mr. Rivera brings laughter to his students and inspires them towards wonderful possibilities in their lives.

Transcription of Joe’s Interview can be found here.

Contact Joe:


School Website:  Marlton School

Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness: GLAD

Cal State University Northridge Deaf Education and Family Project:  DEAF


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