Say What?

No one told me I was going to have to shake out my Spanish at 7:30 in the morning.

I recently finished my first round of Parent Teacher Conferences (PTCs) and I have to say…they went well. The first parent I met with is fluent in English. As a result, when the second parent walked up to me I began prattling away in English like I would in the States.

¿Tú hablas español?

Do you speak Spanish?

[Record skip]

Right. I am in South America. I teach kids who are bilingual, but their parents do not necessarily speak English. I’d been in that same position just last school year where students were translating for their parents at PTC.

And you know what I did? I whipped my little bit of Spanish right on out.

For the next three or four hours I had a parade of parents who either spoke no English or were not comfortable speaking in English (though they could understand it) so they would speak in Spanish.

When it was time for lunch I was excited. The parents had encouraged me when I paused in my Spanish, they complimented me (one even went so far as to say that if he had my brains he would’ve learned 10 languages by now), and just all around gave me more confidence.

After lunch though, my brain turned to mush.

Actually, I think it was beginning to leak out of my right ear.

I was exhausted after speaking so much Spanish. Thus, in the afternoon session the lady I co-teach with encouraged me to keep practicing my Spanish, but she also translated a lot more because I just couldn’t do it.

All in all, I think I’m on my way…


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