Slice of Life: Multi-Lingual English Class

Slice of Life

My students know that I love Spanish. And many of them are taking Spanish, so there’s some solidarity there. But many others are taking French or Italian. So there’s a lot of good-natured teasing back and forth.

Something pretty cool has been happening lately, though. The French students have been doing what they can to pepper French into our class. They’ll greet me with a bonjour! or ask me ça va? when we pass in the hallways. Yesterday, we were writing haiku in class. One student called me over, a huge grin on his face. I knew something good or something funny was about to happen — either way, I was excited.

When I got to his desk, I looked at his haiku: completely in French. He looked up and asked me, with a smile, “What do you think?” I turned the tables on him, though, asking why he used the word for “funny” when he meant to use the word for “smart.” Our gentle teasing continued, while he was practicing his French.

A little background for this next snippet: teaching at a Catholic school, I start every class with prayer. Every day, I ask each of my classes if anyone would like to lead us. In every class but one, I’ve had volunteers throughout the year. One class, though: not a single person stepping up to lead. That’s fine; I would never force anyone to pray, I just ask that they join in if they’d like and be respectful if they’d rather not. But I ask every day anyway. I don’t want to deny someone the chance to do something just because I’m making an assumption that saves me 10 seconds of time. So today, I asked. And a hand went right up. I took my seat, and the student led us in prayer.

She chose the Our Father.

In Spanish.

The language battle continues 🙂


4 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Multi-Lingual English Class

  1. My friend teaches in a Catholic school and she tells me stories about leading prayer. Most kids step up to lead. Would love to see the French haiku.

  2. This reminds me of the ribbing my husband and I do with each other since he took Spanish in high school (and minored in it in college) and I took French from 3rd – 12th grade. Clearly, we both have our preferences and like to argue over which one is more relevant in today’s society. My husband uses Spanish at work, but couldn’t pronounce haricots verts at a restaurant until we spent lots of time practicing it together.

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