My life is just a tad bit crazy as I finish up report cards, prep for our Nanny Goats play (tomorrow!), prep for our Leaves party (this has nothing to do with foliage and more to do with staff members who are leaving our school), finish my slideshow, etc etc etc. We call it May Madness at my school.
Anywho . . .
We only have 5 1/2 days of school left.
And four days ago, I got a new student.
Which means that my new student will be with me for a total of nine and a half days.
And during that time, we will be working and learning about . . .
We will be working on . . .
We will be . . .
So far, in those four days, there have been a lot of play rehearsals.
And once, we took the second portion of the District math assessment (because why only have one portion of a district math assessment, right?).
We have also watched a third grade play, the second grade talent show, attended a big ole Awards Ceremony, prepped for Open House, had Open House, and went on an Open House Tour Parade of the whole school.
If I haven’t made myself perfectly clear, I am trying to say THAT WE AREN’T EXACTLY PICKING UP A PENCIL EVERY DAY.
We are enjoying one another’s company, as well as getting on each other’s nerves. It’s End of the Year We Love Each Other and We Are Tired of Each Other and We Will Miss Each Other and We Need Summer Vacation Syndrome.
So, all of this is to say . . . my new student doesn’t speak one word of English.
NOT ONE WORD.
He is new.
And when I say new, I mean HE JUST MOVED HERE FROM ASIA.
The continent of Asia.
And he speaks Mandarin Chinese.
And that’s all.
I feel bad for the little guy because you know he’s just wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING HERE, I THOUGHT THIS WAS SCHOOL, WE DON’T DO IT LIKE THIS IN CHINA.
But he can’t say that because he doesn’t speak our language.
Which is English most of the time. I’m sure I really throw him for a loop when I break out in the little bit of Spanish I know.
Or speak in my Southern accent.
But here’s what I’ve learned.
As much as I worry about this little guy (is he having fun? does he want to go home? am I using hand gestures that might accidentally be offensive? does he want to be in our play?), I have learned that if you have to move, and that move makes you leave your continent, and that move takes you to a place where you do not speak the language, YOU NEED TO MOVE TO AMERICA AND YOU NEED TO BE IN FIRST GRADE.
Whereas I was apprehensive and . . . well, I won’t lie . . . a tad bit annoyed that I was getting a new student with only ten days left in the year . . . my students were THRILLED.
And the fact that he couldn’t speak English?
Our new student is somewhat of a celebrity in my class. Everyone wants to sit next to him. Everyone wants to be his buddy. Everyone wants to high-five him and fist-bump him. The girls want to mother him.
This way, friend. It’s time to go to the carpet now.
Follow me. I’ll show you. It’s over here.
Sit right there. Perfect!
My kids can’t get enough of him.
They have made him feel more than welcome. Their willingness to embrace a new student and make him feel like one of our own even though we only have a few days left of school is absolutely AMAZING.
I am so proud of them.
My students seriously humbled me.
Because all I thought was are you kidding me with this while my students shouted with glee when I announced that we were getting a new student. Shouted with glee.
Talk about feeling humbled.
I got a new student.
And it’s working out fine.
Awww this is one of my favorite posts now!!!! I’m so glad it all worked out!!!
I got a kiddo from Asia this year too (but February) who did not speak any English! My students had the same reaction. He has fit in so well and they have done awesome with him! He has learned so much! I wish he would have came in August, but I’m glad I got to teach him in first grade! Although, I’m sure in his head he has probably thought “What is this lady doing?” more than once! 🙂
Patty Rutenbar says
I agree with you that getting a new student this close to the end is frustrating……but….if you think of the child it’s really good timing.
1. He just may pick up some English words in that short amount of time.
2. He will make friends and may even find some neighborhood kids that he can play with during the summer. If he had moved in during the 2nd week of June, he might not have known who lived close to him that he could play with. I always worry about kids who move during the summer…especially with the language differences.
He’s a lucky little man to have ended up in your room. He’ll get a head start on life in America with you!
Liz Muhitch says
Such a sweet post! Enjoy your last days!
I love this so much! I got a new student last week and we have 9 days left of school. Guess what? He doesn’t speak English either! He is fresh from the border and only speaks Spanish. The best part is that my worst trouble maker is bilingual and has taken it upon himself to translate all day for the new kid. He has a full time job and most days, it keeps him out of trouble. I call it a win-win. Hang in there! Summer is right around the corner 🙂
Have you used the app “itranslate”. It was my lifesaver this year and my NES kids were fluent by January. I used the free version, but almost paid for the other. By the time I made my decision, they knew enough English to get by. I teach k.
Kathleen Wright says
I teach at an ELL magnet school in my district so I KNOW what you were talking about here. And they really do do fine, usually… well, except when they are made to do standardized, computerized testing… but I won’t go there now. I have the “Say Hi” app on my iphone. You can speak into it and it translates into the language you choose in both spoken and written form. Your little guy probably only needs the speaking/listening part, but for older students who were reading before they moved, the written as well as spoken message is very good. It is free. Three more weeks for me and then I MOVE… classrooms. sigh. See you around. Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom