Sunday, September 9, 2012

Small Victories

Shawn and I recently got Rosetta Stone to teach ourselves Spanish. It has become a necessity for my job as most of my parents do not speak English and I have two students who walked into my classroom speaking only Spanish.

One of these students was so (understandably) terrified the first two weeks of school, he cried every morning. He is doing so much better now and is even answering academic questions in class. A real milestone happened the other day, though. My second non-English speaking student joined my class, and was also (understandably) struggling. I had assigned both students other students as translators and that was working ok.

The other day, my second student was asking me a question in Spanish and I obviously did not know what he was asking.  In a moment of inspiration, I asked my first non-English speaking student to be the translator for me. I think he amazed himself  (and me) that he was able to translate what his classmate was saying into English. The best part was that he was so utterly proud of himself. He now runs across the room to translate whenever he sees this other student and I trying to communicate.

The other day we had an open house. It was almost comical to watch this same student get exasperated with his mother who was trying to communicate with me in English. I could see that his mother was struggling with whether to be proud of his accomplishments, or discipline him for being so disrespectful.  It was a struggle I was excited to see.

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