…I will be their voice…

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 23 2011


I had a moment today where I spat out a half English/ half spanish sentence and then smiled and laughed at myself.

I had a parent meeting on Tuesday morning with my only completely non-English speaking students parent. I am fortunate enough that my school provides a translator for these meetings to help us better communicate. The mom expressed to me that J comes home frustrated and sometimes upset because he doesn’t understand a lot of what we are saying and he really wants to communicate with his friends better. J is finally opening up to the other students in the class and speaks to the children whether they can understand him or not, which I love. But it hurts my heart to know that the 10 minute small group for reading each day, he stares at me blankly. Buddy reading, he just stares into space. When we do pair and shares, he gets talked at rather than with.

I have been focusing a lot of my effort in class the past couple of weeks spending time learning the most basic phrases in spanish so we can say it, then translate it. He is picking up English quickly but I can tell he wants to learn faster. I catch myself speaking Spanglish ALOT. I most often answer my phone with an “Hola” I say “Sietete” to all my students and then laugh and say “sit down.” My students are even picking up the phrases and using them, with each other, which is hilarious to watch two English speaking students telling each other “no me gusta!”

Spanish/Spanglish has become a part of every single part of my life, school and home. I want to envelope myself in the culture and learn so much more.

I honestly feel fortunate to have J in my class. He has taught me so much about myself that I never knew I had in me. I have no fear about Spanish/Spanglish, because of J and his mom especially, they have taught me patience and courage, which are two HUGE qualities a teacher needs!

2 Responses

  1. Kim

    That sounds like a great experience so far… what grade do you teach?

    • adhelmick


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My adventures in teaching…

Early Childhood

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