Do you pay your language parent-helper-friend?

A few people had a great question after they read about me finding a language parent (helper, friend) with a flyer. What about paying them? Do you? Why didn't you mention it on your flyer?

Yep, I pay.

Because let me tell you, helping someone take their first (or millionth) steps into a new languacultural world is WORK! My language parents are so patient, watching and listening to me slaughter their language, repeating a word for the kazillionth time…they deserve to be paid. Being the language parent for a class myself showed me that really fast. 

And, helping me grow in language is a big time commitment-we're talking 10-20 hours a week. Since I am taking my first steps into the Deaf American world, I don't have any local Deaf friends yet besides my language parent (that's normal!), so I don't have anyone saying "I'll help you for free!" That will come later, maybe, but now at the beginning I need one super patient, super committed person to help me every day.

I didn't mention payment on my flyer-I didn't want to start there. I wanted to start when I met people just seeing if we clicked, seeing if they seemed like they would go along with the Growing Participator Approach

How much? 

Depends. I talked to another coach who works on ASL with the Deaf using this method, and went with what he's been paying. When I met my language parent for the first time, and we decided that it would work out for us, I floated that number, and she was happy. We added on a little bit for gas this time around because she's coming to me now.

Here's one way Greg Thomson, the compiler of the Growing Participator Approach and my hero, suggests figuring out payment overseas. Talk to a local person, not another foreigner, and ask them how much they pay a student to come tutor their kids. That's a good place to start.

Now, I have coached people that weren't allowed by their organizations to pay language helpers. They still succeeded, it just took a lot of tenacity and flexibility, and they got off to a slower start than people who were allowed to pay. They were also focused full time on language, had no other responsibilities, and were highly motivated, that's why it worked. 

What's your experience paying or not paying for help growing into a new languacultural world?



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