Communicating with Parents? They speak Spanish! Ahhh

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 773 Miles Away, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I am sorry, but if these children are in 5th grade that means that their parents have been in the AMERICAN school system for almost 6 years (mabye longer if the kids were sent to a pre-school)! They sholud have picked up enough English to get by and communicate in English! It makes my blood boil when a person that LIVES (and has lived for quite a while) in this country is not able to speak English! It makes me even more upset when it is apparent that they are not even TRYING to learn the languae!
    If I moved to Italy, Japan, Mexico etc... I would learn the language spoken there......
    We make it too easy for people to get by in their natvie language here. Press one for English, 2 for Spanish.... Do the people in Spain have to press one for Spanish and 2 for English??!?! Im curious!
     
  2. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    1. Lots of kids move to the US during their school years. I had a number of students last year who were new to the country and new to the language. Why would their parents be any more likely to know English, presumably having just moved here as well?

    2. Perhaps it's true that people in other countries don't have a "Press 2 for English" option... But I would venture to guess that most people in other countries are bilingual, and often the second language is English or French. If you don't believe me, try traveling to Europe and see how many people speak English to you once they recognize that you're an American (and they will...). It shames me how self-centered we Americans can be.
     
  3. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I have traveled quite a bit and am thankful that people speak English...but I am a visitor!!!!!!
    There is a huge difference between a person here on vacation and a person who lives, works, pays taxes, votes, shops, owns or rents a home, sends their children to school, etc.... that will not learn the language!
    It does not bother you (just a little bit?) that you can take a citizen ship test in a language other than English?!?! Does that seem a little silly?
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It doesn't bother me at all because we have no official language.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    And furthermore, I think that a person who lives in this country should be able to speak their preferred language especially if they are a citizen. We have lots of freedoms in this country like religion, speech, etc. Why shouldn't someone be allowed to choose the language spoken in their own home? Why should they be forced to speak my language just because it's what I speak? I would never force them to vote the way I do or attend the same church as me or eat the same foods as me. They can do what they like... it doesn't hurt anyone.

    I know this is a hot topic, and I'm not wanting to start any fights. I'm probably just as passionate about my position as the rest of you are about yours, and that's okay. We might just have to agree to disagree. :)
     
  6. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I think you are right! This is a topic that can get very heated!!! I do not care what language a person chooses to speak in the privacy of his or her own home or when they are with a group of friends that all speak that langague. What I do mind is when a person knows so little English that they are unable to assist me when working in a store or unable to ask for helps themsevles when out in public.
    While we do not have an "offical" language. English is widley spoken, and our country was founded on it.
     
  7. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Sorry to have hijacked your thread, Miles Away. I know you were looking for how to speak Spanish to the parents, but I just don't think you should have to...

    Here's an email I got the other day, ya'll may find interesting...

    Immigration Law (not political, not a joke - make sure you read all the
    way to the end...)

    1. If you migrate to this country, you must speak the native language.
    2. You have to be a professional or an investor. No unskilled workers
    allowed.
    3. There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools, no special
    ballots for elections, all government business will be conducted in our
    language.
    4. Foreigners will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are
    here.
    5. Foreigners will NEVER be able to hold political office.
    6. Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food
    stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs.
    7. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount equal to
    40,000 times the daily minimum wage.
    8. If foreigners do come and want to buy land that will be okay, BUT
    options will be restricted. You are not allowed waterfront property. That
    is reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.
    9. Foreigners may not protest; no demonstrations, no waving a foreign flag,
    no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies, if
    you do you will be sent home.
    10. If you do come to this country illegally, you will be hunted down and
    sent straight to jail.

    Harsh, you say? The above laws happen to be the immigration laws of Mexico!



    The reason parents expect you to speak Spanish even though you don't is because the USA cops out and allows people to be lax. Our forefathers didn't want this, Americans don't want this, but people just want to be lazy. No other country gets bullied around and acts like a bunch of wimps. Please, foreigners, come to the USA, get a good job, pay your taxes, get along in our language, and don't be a burden - especially to some wonderful teacher who loves her students and wants to teach them, but can't because they won't learn our language and their parents won't either.
     
  8. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Many parts of Massachusetts have very high percentages of Hispanic students. The difference is there are more Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Guatamalans in this area than Mexicans.

    Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Send things home in English as your normally would and most likely the parents who don't speak English will have someone (family, friends, neighbors) that they normally ask to translate things for them. The school will probably have copies of important paperwork in Spanish for you to give to those students when permission slips or things like that need to go home. That's been my experience anyway, as I live in an area with a large Hispanic population.
     
  9. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Aug 4, 2007

    (Bolding mine.)

    The OP never said that the parents EXPECT her to speak Spanish or that they WON'T LEARN English.

    If you had an illiterate parent (could not read or write in any language) would you send everything home written and have that same attitude?

    In my experience with parents who are not native English speakers, they DO THEIR BEST to communicate with the school. I have parents who come to school with a translator (or at least a relative who speaks English slightly better than they do) to clarify something they do not understand.

    We've had families fleeing atrocities in Sierra Leone or simply emigrating to make a better life for their children. As a public school, we educate all children. To me, part of education is communicating with the parents because we have to work together. I think, as teachers, we need to do what we can to make that possible.
     
  10. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2007

    I know this debate is getting heated. However, felt compelled to at least comment on the language discussion, as I already noted on the original post.

    I find a lot of comparisons (well, contrasts, rather), to the policies of other nations. Yet, America tends to distance itself from the workings of other nations. We tend to say: "There, they do that. But here, we do this." We have a lot of great things in America--"Look at what that nation lacks--we have it here, though."

    So, using the "other countries do so and so" seems like an unfair reasoning. Each nation is different, and so comparing them, of course, will not be fair. Not all other countries have a history like ours, were founded like ours (hell, some were only (relatively) recently released from colonization), or have had past immigration policies like ours. Other nations are not as geographically isolated as ours or as highly coveted as a "dream" as ours (though I'm sure that has decreased over the years).

    So, when we compare, I think these are important notes to keep in mind. Should people be able to speak the language of their choice? Sure. Should we have a common language to better communicate as an American public? I would say yes. It is not uncommon to note a "home culture" and the "American culture." Language may just be another aspect of that.

    [Disclaimer: Any use of "we" or "our" refers to America/n(s). I am aware that some posters are not from the States, so I'm not presuming to speak for you, haha. Of course, I'm not presuming to speak for anyone but myself.]
     
  11. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    I would like to apologize for my little rant earlier. Guess you found a subject about which I am passionate.

    Let me give you some background...

    I am a young white woman who moved from Ohio to teach Biology in a small border town. I am treated as a blessing by some, and a curse by others. I have had both students, parents, and coworkers SNEER at me for not speaking "their" language. Spanish is spoken by 99% of the population here, and English by maybe 30%. that leaves 70% of the population speaking NO ENGLISH.

    I feel like I am discriminated against sometimes for not knowing Spanish, I get left out of conversations, students don't even try to ask me questions because I am their only white teacher, so many will just fail or transfer out to a teacher who will just be pathetic and lazy and teach them in Spanish. I am by FAR (not to toot my own horn but its true) the best science teacher, and I also teach the students proper English and tell them about life outside of this hellhole little town we live in. Yes, life is very different away from the Mexican border! They can't believe it!

    I feel like the students and parents get short changed by the lazy teachers and administrators in my district who just teach the kids in Spanish because its easier and "the kids are just going to work in the fields or at McDonalds anyways." (thats a quote from another teacher, by the way.) I HATE HATE HATE this apathy, and that is the reason I got my master's degree - to become a principal and change this system. Now, I can't get a job because everyone in this freaking town is related to each other (and i'm related to no one) and they all give their drinking buddies jobs.

    I'm fuming and fuming, but maybe you can see where my previous post came from rather than me just deleting it. I HATE laziness and apathy on the parts of students, parents, teachers, and administrators. I'm so sick of short changing these kids and not preparing them for a real life!!!

    lol, venting over, thanks guys
     
  12. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    You do bring up a point with the Sierra Leone reference but here in the Southwest we get mostly Mexican and Central American Illegals. Of my students I would say 75% are either the student is an Illegal or the parents are (we have many who are born in the USA but the parents are here Illegally) We have a crime rate higher than the rest of the country involving Illegals, we have deaths involving Illegals, in previous years "June 9, 2005, So far this year a total of 160 illegal aliens have died along the Arizona border." that was a half of a year!
    Our Hospital losses millions a year on Illegal aliens who get treatment (accidents, births, sickness) and leave without paying.

    This is not a race thing it is just that most of our Illegal aliens are Hispanic.
     
  13. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I agree, my story is almost 100% the same as yours (just that I am an old white guy from New York)
    BTW we need an Assistant Principal.
     
  14. teachkids

    teachkids Rookie

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Brava!
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm in the same boat as both of you, but I don't feel the same way. I'm not discriminated against in my school community, and I'm reasonably certain that it's because I make an effort to take an active interest in the popular languages and cultures of this area.

    When we learn new vocabulary in Latin, the kids always tell me how the Latin word looks like the Spanish word for the same thing. I give extra credit when kids make word trees showing how a Latin word evolved into a Spanish word. I make an effort to teach grammar using concepts from both English and Spanish (just the basic stuff for now, anyway).

    I do not feel like they should have to abandon their language at the door any more than my English-speaking students would have to. On the contrary, their home languages and family traditions/cultures are embraced in my classroom--they share their experiences and I share my own. They get to hear all about the lovely world of lutefisk (MMM!!! Just kidding. YUCK!!! is what I really mean), the perfect meal that is corned beef and cabbage, and they get to hear me say "Uffda!" all the time.

    It works out.
     
  16. teachkids

    teachkids Rookie

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    I agree. I don't want them to abandon their language at the door, however standards are in English. I always blend in my high school French, or try to answer in my limited Spanish (very little). The show stopper is when I use American Sign Language, I was an interpreter in the classroom for years before becoming a teacher. That breaks into another kind of lesson. I also have a Cultural potluck lunch on Valentine's Day. Very fun!
     
  17. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Well "Uffda!" and "don't ja know"
    I am sure you are not inferring that we do not take an active interest in the popular languages and cultures of our areas.
    Just a few interests:
    I have attended a number of Quinceañeras,
    I have been to the Crying House on the reservation.
    We celebrate May 10, Sept 16, and the the famous Cinco de Mayo
    And I keep Pepto-Bismol for when I eat cultural food :eek:


    If anyone needs to know what the dates mean just ask.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm not implying that at all.

    I'm just reiterating the fact that the language is a part of the culture--perhaps an even bigger part than holidays and food.
     
  19. tiredteacher29

    tiredteacher29 Rookie

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    Wow, there are a lot of replies to this topic! Without getting into the argument, let me just say that as a classroom teacher I have to face the reality that many of my parents do not read/speak English. Regardless of my feelings on the matter, that is reality. If there is something I want/need them to know, I must find a way to communicate it. I am semi-fluent in Spanish so I translate everything I can that I send home. However, there is a teacher resource that I know of that is a book with pre-made notes home to parents in English and Spanish, I think it is called "Hola!". It has saved me a lot of time. You may want to look into something like that.
     
  20. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I googled it and here it is at Amazon.com
    http://www.amazon.com/Hola-Communic...178986/ref=pd_sim_b_2_img/002-9028458-3051212
    $17.95
    scroll down the page and there are other books under the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" heading
     

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