Beautifully and wonderfully made would be the best way to describe each of my students. They are bright, funny, lovable, hard workers and very impressionable! They are also culturally, linguistically and economically challenged. The school I work with is composed of a diverse student population. Our Free and Reduced Meals rate is close to 40% and one-fourth of our students receive support from our English for Speakers of Other Languages teachers.
Just like years past, 1/3 or more of my class have Spanish only speaking parents/guardians and/or siblings who require assistants with translators for conferences, meetings and learning.
Over half of my students were born in another country and speak a language other than English.
Our school is 1 of 12 elementary schools in our district that offer a World Language Immersion Program. Students start in Kindergarten or First grade attending Math, Science and Health classes in a foreign language daily. Our school's language is Spanish.
Did you know that most Spanish speaking students in elementary school are currently losing their language? When they come to school they are only learning how to read, speak and write in English. They are not considered bi-lingual because they can only speak Spanish, not read and write it.
Being able to participate in a Spanish Immersion program will not only teach me how to effectively speak, read and write in Spanish, but it will also allow me to help the Spanish speaking students in my class preserve their language and ignite a passion for my other students to learn another language.
After completing this program I'll also be able to truly empathize with all of the students that I teach, who come to this country not being able to speak any English but have to struggle to learn daily in a whole new world. Currently 25% of the students in my class have parents who only speak Spanish and 50% of the students in my class were born in a different country and learned to speak English by being totally immersed into our school systems.
Learning how to speak Spanish will allow me to build stronger relationships with the parents of my students who only speak Spanish. I value relationships and am always looking for ways to make them better. Eliminating the language barrier increases my opportunities to reach out to the parents of my Spanish speaking students when help is needed. Opening the doors of communication, in my opinion, is a huge leap toward success. When the parents and I are on the same page, success is almost always guaranteed for the student. Sometimes passion can be lost in translation. I no longer want that to be an option.
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