More than 50 percent of the students speak Spanish in the district where The Daily Grind’s Mr. McNamar teaches. In light of that, he thinks it would make perfect sense for the district to provide Spanish-language classes to all teachers as a form of professional development. Mr. McNamar himself can speak elementary-level Spanish thanks to years of working in a restaurant where all the line cooks spoke it, and he has decided to use those basic skills to try and communicate with his Spanish-speaking students in their native language. He thinks it’ll help the students be more comfortable with him and, from the looks of it, he might be right.
I've made it my mission from now on to not be afraid to attempt communicating with our Spanish speaking students. If our many bilingual students who feel insecure about their English proficiency (often hiding behind the language barrier), observe me trying, and often failing, to communicate with them, perhaps they will begin to feel more confident that we don't judge them because of their inability to speak English perfectly.
A group of ELL students have recently decided I'm acceptable to talk with. This group, who are in my study hall, would often ignore me or yell at me in Spanish if I tried to get them to sit down or quiet down. But once I started communicating in Spanish, they've begun to ask me questions and even say hello in the hallway.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.