Mark Nordstrom is a Leigh High School interpreter who has created a fun, learning environment when he is in each classroom he is assigned to. Although he specifically assists the Deaf students in the classroom, Nordstrom has implemented ways in which he can involve everyone, and his hard work continues to inspire students and teachers alike.
Q: What is the usual agenda for your school day at Leigh?
A: My day’s agenda depend on the students’ needs. Although I do have a regular schedule to follow, if a student is absent or has a change of schedule, that will affect where I go and what I do.
Q: When and why did you first get interested in becoming an interpreter?
A: My older brother was deaf. I understood him well, and my becoming an interpreter was a natural result of our relationship, although I did not pursue interpreting as a career until I was in my late 20s.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
A: For me, I think that remembering that HOW I do my job really colors the student’s perception of what is happening, what’s being said, and the emotional content of the situation. It’s easy to forget that someone is looking to me to help them be as involved as possible.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I love the ‘Ah hah!’ moment. When I see that what I’m communicating is really benefiting the student.
Q: Where did you get your education for becoming an interpreter and what did you like about that school?
A: My education comes from being raised in a family with a deaf member, and then, through him, being exposed to the Deaf community. Although I took some college classes related to Deaf culture and language, my real training has been through life experience and on-the-job learning.
Q: How has this profession affected your daily life? How have you changed as a person?
A: Because of this profession, I’ve been able to experience many different things that the average career doesn’t offer. I’ve worked with law enforcement, medical professionals, high tech, education at all levels, emergency service providers, and people of all ages. This has changed me as a person because I’ve been able to see so many different ways of life, so many viable approaches.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of being an interpreter at Leigh?
A: I love to make music, and have been an electronic music producer for about 15 years.