Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tales From the Classroom # 10: New Student

About an hour and a half after school started today, I heard a knock on the door. I was in the middle of testing and I rushed to answer the door and get the kids back on track. I opened the door to find a mother and two kids waiting for me. Not one of the three spoke to me. I then figured out that the smaller of the two children must be a new student. At that moment, the taller of the two children, the boy, briskly walked in the room and started looking around for an empty desk and chair. I was confused. The mom still did not speak to me. The boy then walked right back to me and handed me an admit slip. He was supposed to be in my room. The little girl, his sister, was on her way to first grade.

I greeted the young man, introduced myself to him and showed him where to sit. I turned around to talk with mom and she was already on her way out. I called her back in Spanish because I assumed that she must not speak English since she was so quiet and didn't greet me. "Mucho gusto Señora ____. Yo soy la maestra ________." Mom just looked at me and said "I don't speak Spanish."

Was I wrong to assume that mom spoke Spanish? After all, what other rational reason would there be for a MOTHER to take her child to a NEW CLASSROOM at a NEW SCHOOL and not even attempt to greet the adult who will be responsible for his academic progress and physical safety for 7 hours out of each day!

Later in the day, I found out by talking to the secretary that there are custody issues that I needed to be informed of. I also heard from the teacher of the little sister that this young man takes the bus home and needs to leave promptly after school is out to catch the bus. You would think that Mom would have thought it would be important to discuss these issues with me.


The upside of this story is that my new student is really quite a nice kid. He is a bit below grade level but so are others in the room. He fits in quite well with the rest of the kids in the class. By the end of the day, he had made some new friends.


paz said...

Hmmm is right about the mother. So, what does she speak, since she didn't say anything at all. At least you tried to communicate with her. I'm glad the young man is nice. I trust he'll adjust to his new surroundings very quickly.


Cincysundevil said...

If Mom didn't speak at all and was just standing there, you had to try something to get her to speak.

Ms.Maegan said...

There were alot of underlying assumptions in your choosing to speak Spanish to the mother instead of addressing her in English, for example the stereotype of a quite docile non-English speaker. Also the fact that a Spanish speaking mother would be the one to dote on her child more because of language issues as opposed to a million other reasons. I'm not saying it was something done on purpose but still something to think about and reflect upon

Dree said...

I would think that any mother dropping her kids off for their first day of school (especially in the middle/end of the school year) would say SOMETHING to her child's teacher. At least a "hello." Seriously.