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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Student Reflection: My first day in the community

by Natalie Bodmer

After an orientation session and another training session I thought I was more than prepared to start working with the children. However, the night before my first day I became nervous about what I was going to do with the students and if my Spanish was in fact good enough to be able to really help the student learn concepts like math and science.

I was assigned to tutor a 4th grade boy. I went to pick him up from his classroom, and he was a little shy at first. He introduced himself to me in English and then him and his friends started joking around in Spanish. It was interesting to see how comfortable he was speaking Spanish with his friends, and then he felt as if he had to speak English with me.

I started asking him questions in Spanish to let him know that he could use Spanish with me if he was more comfortable with it. His response surprised me because he seemed shocked to see that I could speak Spanish and he was willing to use whichever language he was more comfortable with.

Overall, I would explain my first day as a little overwhelming and definitely eye-opening. I had never been in a school where a large number of students did not speak English as their first language. It was eye-opening to see how a child so young could be immersed in a school environment in which he was learning in a language other than his first language. It also made me realize some of the struggles that children who are not wealthy have to go through.

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