Monday, October 20, 2008

Looking for Students to Translate at Central High School's Parent-Teacher Conferences

I just received an e-mail from Ms. Michelle Shmikler ( from Central High School. She needs people to translate for Spanish-speaking parents at their parent-teacher conferences. Here is the specific information:

"Conference times are Thursday, October 30 (5 till 8 pm) and Friday, October 31 (8 till noon)."

SPAN 232 students, you can use this opportunity to make up any missed CBL hours from this semester. Or you can do it just to have a great experience.

It is SO important that parents be able to communicate with their children's teachers. Imagine all the lost opportunities to cooperate to improve the students' education if the parents cannot communicate effectively with the teacher. And these parents really want to help their children to do their best.

*If you do translate for these parent-teacher conferences, I'd love it if you posted a comment here afterward to tell us about your experiences. That might help next semester's students want to get involved.



  1. Hi, I would just like to post a comment for everyone on my most recent experience at parent-teacher conferences. I have just returned from Central and I would have to say that it was a very rewarding experience for everyone! From the parents to the teachers to myself, I think we all felt very encouraged by it.

    Before I came tonight, I'll admit that there was a little nervousness inside myself. I didn't know what to expect, what the teacher would say, how the parent would react and more importantly if I would be able to communicate effectively in Spanish. It was clear at the beginning, though, that the mother I helped was very concerned for her son's education and she was nervous herself as to what the teacher would say. It helped to know that I wasn't the only one nervous and as we walked to the classroom we had the opportunity to talk and relate to one another, which of course put us both at ease. I had looked up before going to the conference, the blog on advice that Liz had written last year and another on useful vocabulary, and with those I found it very easy to communicate everything that needed to be said. Her son, in fact was a "buen estudiante" and there were really no problems to say. The mother asked if there was anything else that could be done to raise his grade even more, and I thought back to the useful vocabulary page and I told her that “existe ayuda después del colegio en la biblioteca”. After the conference I think we both felt very relieved to have everything clear and in the open. After the mother left, I stayed in the counseling office to see if they would need any more translators. While I was there, I was able to see the other students and their parents. From what I saw, many of the problems students had in classes were the result of not handing in assignments and many times the students did not understand because of the language barrier that they had assignments to turn in. Thanks to parent-teacher conferences and having translators there too, open communication was possible between all parties and these problems were solved. So, for anyone thinking about going tomorrow and you’re a little nervous, don’t be! This is a great opportunity to bridge the communication gap between students, parents and teachers and within yourself! And if you’re feeling like you need vocabulary help, once again look to the “useful vocabulary” page found on this site. Everyone benefits from this, so I encourage everyone to not miss out:)

  2. Emily,
    I'm so glad you posted this! I think this will definitely encourage other students to do exactly what you did.
    Thank you for helping out the families and teachers at Central tonight.
    Ann Abbott

  3. Thanks for posting a comment Emily!! And thanks for going today as well!!

    I am happy to see you are still involved with our community, as some other classmates (I just talked to Jim over email recently and I saw Kevin who stills volunteers at BTW!!).

    It's great listening from you again!

  4. I'm so glad I did this! When I first got to Central High School I was really nervous because I'd never formally translated before, but as soon as I met the mom who I'd be helping I relaxed. I was surprised at how easy it was to understand everything she was saying, and that gave me confidence with my own speaking. Besides the awesomeness of being able to use Spanish in a practical sense (which is one of the things that I'd like to do after graduating), it was a great feeling knowing that by translating that day I was helping to build a relationship not only between parents and teachers, but also between those who do and don't speak English. Language, ultimately, is what brings people together, and no clearer could I see that than while translating.

    So, for those of you who are unsure about translating, I'd say try it! If nothing else, it will open your eyes to how challenging it can be to live, work, and/or go to school in a place where most people don't speak in your native tongue. And even if you don't know how to translate every word, even if you don't understand everything that's said, just the fact that you're there makes a difference. Have confidence in yourself and try something new; it doesn't matter what year you're in. Personally, as a freshman, translating at the conferences was a valuable experience and one that I would recommend. What it comes down to is this: if you never take risks, you'll never grow.

    Also, thanks to everyone who helped coordinate this; everything went really smoothly.

    ~Mary McCormack

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