Well it was just like being back at school - me stood alone, everyone laughing at me.
Of course I'm joking - but tonight was like being back at School as it the the first lesson in my British Sign Language Level 1 course. As many of you will know, I have already undertaken and completed an online course in British Sign Language - but if I thought I had some sort of advantage, I was very much mistaken.
There are approximately 20 of us in the class, and we were all sat in a semi circle. It felt a bit like one of those self help groups or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as we all took turns to introduce ourselves and say why we have enrolled on the course. We were a mixed bunch, slightly more females than males and ages varying from late teens to early fifties.
Our tutor was very good - having been signing for 15 years, she should be! She explained things very well, and after her introduction to the course I knew that there was much I had to learn - even with the online course under my belt (which makes sitting down quite uncomfortable).
In this first lesson we learnt how to sign the letters of the alphabet. As previously mentioned, although I knew how to do this, it was the technique that I discovered I had been lacking in. For example, to finger spell the letter "Y", you hold your non dominant hand flat (your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa) palm side down with fingers held flat, and you place the index finger of your dominant hand on the piece of skin between the thumb and index finger on the hand that is flat. However, if like me you have been holding your non dominant hand with only the index finger extended, you will in fact be making the sign for "Y-fronts".
So, every time I thought I had been finger spelling my name, I was in fact finger spelling "L-A-R-R-Yfronts"
But not anymore.
Next we went through how to ask someone's name and how to tell someone your name. Again, I had done this on my online course, but when it came to watching someone finger spell their name and then trying to read what they are spelling, I found it really difficult.
We got homework - to practice and perfect the finger spelling alphabet. Even though I know it, I will improve on my technique.
And that was lesson 1 - already I really enjoy this course, and I know it is going to be really good. In January we will have an assessment - and that means having a 4 minute sign language with an assessor who is deaf.
Bring on next week!!