Monday, September 22, 2014

Different Languages, One School

Įsivaizduokite, ką ji turi būti kaip persikelti į kitą šalį ir turėti galimybę skaityti, rašyti, kalbėti ar nesupranta tos šalies kalba? Įsivaizduokite prašoma skaityti šią dalį ir bet kas gali paversti tai anglų kalba. Kaip jautiesi? Kas gero?

GoogleTranslation (I apologize for any inaccuracy in the Lithuanian language): Imagine what it must be like to move to another country and not be able to read, speak, write or understand the language of that country?  Imagine being asked to read this paragraph and not having anyone available to translate it in English for you. How would you feel? What would you do?

I have the pleasure of working with our English as Second Language (ESL) students at Goodrich. I love learning about their diverse backgrounds and experiences. Some students were born in the U.S. and some were born in other countries. Some were exposed to the English language so they are more comfortable navigating through the school day. However, there are some who come knowing no English at all. They cannot communicate with their teachers or their peers. Can you imagine how overwhelming those first few weeks can be to our “newcomers”?

Every year I have my ESL students color the flag of their native country or if they were born in the U.S., the country of their other language. As an ESL teacher, I believe it's important for students to maintain a connection with their native culture as they learn about the American culture.

This year we have a few newcomers.But this blog isn't about them as much as it is about the culture of Goodrich School.  I am so proud of their classmates! I have watched as students helped their new classmates by showing them how to get through the lunch line; how to lineup after recess and at the end of day. We've even had students help us with translation!

This afternoon, I was in a math class and students were cutting out geometric shapes. When two girls realized their classmate did not understand the directions and cut the shape in the wrong places, they helped him because they knew “all about putting it together”. They kept viligant watch as he cut out the shapes ensuring they were cut correctly.

Another time, a 2nd grader stopped me in the hallway to say she was teaching her classmate how to count by 5’s. She was so pleased that he was repeating the numbers after her. I walked away thinking what a special learning environment we have here at Goodrich. Our students have a  unique ability to look past each other’s differences and only see friends in need.

When I was younger, I was refused to speak Spanish at school because I’d be mocked by classmates. I can honestly say that I have not seen that here at Goodrich.Through the combined effort of supportive parents and intentional class-building activities in the classrooms, Goodrich School has developed a caring and accepting school culture. How awesome is that?

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