Friday, November 03, 2006

A different kind of work

I am working at another school site for the first 6 days of my vacation. I am administering the Pre-LAS and LAS test to new students in Spanish to test their proficiency in their primary language. I am loving this work. It is very nice to have a relaxed and flexible schedule.

This morning I woke up and went through my morning routine but without the rush. (HOW NICE!) I enjoyed my coffee, reading the newspaper and I even got to watch almost all of Angela this morning before I left!

So far I have only worked with kindergarteners and first graders. They are adorable. They are so surprised to hear me speak to them in Spanish. It is hilarious. At first they have all been very shy with me. I start out by speaking to them in English. As soon as we exit their classrooms, I ask them "¿Cuantos años tienes?" (how old are you) and they have all given me the most surprised expressions. I think that at this school there is only one person who speaks Spanish, an aide. Many of them at this point start to talk like crazy in Spanish to me. They want to tell me their whole life stories. They are so cute! A few of them are worried because they really do not speak any Spanish at all. One student, a sweet little boy, was really shy on our walk to the testing room. He was my 15th kid of the day so I just went on about my routine and didn't really pay attention to his body language. When I looked at him and asked him the first test question, I realized that he was fighting back tears. Poor baby! He was afraid of me, a stranger! I then told him that I was a teacher and assured him that if he didn't want to stay he could leave. The tears fell but he wanted to stay. Within 5 minutes though he was laughing. The first test activity is to play Simon Says and he thought that was too funny!

The best part of the testing day was meeting Carlos. Carlos is a first grader from El Salvador. He was so bright eyed, happy and polite. He grabbed my hand when I picked him up and wanted to talk. Out of all the kids I tested to day, his Spanish was absolutely the best. It was amazing. What a smart boy! He told me that he has only been in the US for 2 months. His English was pretty good too for only having been here for 2 months. When I returned him to his classroom, I had to make sure that the teacher knew what a gem she had in Carlos. She just smiled and said that he is one of her best.

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