Math = Love: A Week of Firsts

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Week of Firsts

Today marks the end of my first week as a student teacher.  And, this week has been full of firsts.  First faculty meeting.  First PLC meeting.  First fire drill as a teacher.  But, I'm particularly excited to share a first I experienced today that was unexpected.

First time to teach algebra in Spanish.  

I wasn't expecting to teach algebra in Spanish today.  While the majority of the students were testing, I was given the task of helping 5 students with their algebra homework.  Given a table, they were supposed to graph the points, describe what was happening in words, and write an equation to represent the table.

While the other students had began working, one girl had pulled out pencil and paper, but she had not started her work.  After helping some of the other students with their equations, I realized that this girl had still not started.  So, I sat down by her and began talking her through how to plot points.  However, I soon found out that this student spoke zero English.  On top of that, this was her first day of school.

I sat there quietly for about thirty seconds.  Then, I proceeded, much to the surprise of the students sitting at the table, to start trying to explain how to plot points in Spanish.  I say "trying" because while I took 4 semesters of Spanish in college, I haven't taken a Spanish class in two years.  However, I had some amazing Spanish professors in college who really challenged me and pushed me to learn the language.  And, because of them, I still know enough Spanish to have a basic conversation or read a children's book in Spanish.  Was my Spanish perfect?  That's a definite no.  Apparently, I said that I was drinking something at one point instead of taking something...  I was also informed that my pronunciation was lacking. I guess my "pero" sounds too much like "perro."

I definitely need to learn some basic math vocabulary in Spanish, though.  Knowing the Spanish words for "line" or "point" would have been most helpful today.  Despite my major shortcomings with the Spanish language, I am so thankful for the fact that I was able to communicate with this student today.  I can't imagine moving to another state, starting a new school, and not being able to understand a single word that any of your teachers are saying.   

This is why I am becoming a teacher.  Will I have a major impact on the lives of each of my students?  No.  But, I can make a difference in a student's day, and sometimes that's all it takes.  And, I am learning each day that they will have an impact on my life, too.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking that initiative to step beyond your comfort level! --Chris Harbin