Learning the Language

Posted: May 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Throughout my years of teaching I have had many students who have limited English. However, this year has been different for me. I’m trying to learn their language.

This school year I have two students who have very limited English in one of my classes. We do have an ELL teacher who comes in three days a week during the class period, however, with testing, she hasn’t been in my classroom for a couple of weeks. I’ve had to rely on students who are bilingual to translate for me when she is not available.

I’m very thankful for our ELL teacher because she has been helping me with translating mathematical terms. I can talk about circles. I can also help with basic integer operations. I also use the Translate app from Google to assist students with their assignments.

Now the kids laugh at me because I put a French accent twist when speaking Spanish. They understand that I took French in high school, so it just sort of happens. I try not to do it. The two students, along with bilingual friends, help me out when I say words incorrectly. It’s been great getting to know their language and talking with them.

I know there are many people who think that others coming to the United States needs to learn English. However, there are so many who don’t know the language. It’s not an easy language to learn, first of all. In fact, there are many who would not say this sentence correctly. (They would say that instead of who.) So expecting others who move to our country to know the language instantly is just crazy talk!

I am jealous of a few teachers in my building who know Spanish, some very fluent while others just know more than me, who can talk with students and I know that they are reaching them better than I am.

So my goal this summer (while doing other things) is to learn Spanish. I may not be the most fluent, but to have some basic phrases and mathematical terms would be great! Have you learned another language on your own? What did you use to learn it? Do you know a math teacher who knows terms who could help me out with mathematical terms?

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