Last week the students got quite a bit more distracted than usual and it was noticeable that they were excited about summer. With this challange, it was hard to find ways to keep them on task, but one way I did this was quizzing a few of them on smaller English words and I would ask them what it was in Spanish and they focused more because I think they liked the fact I could relate to them with the Spanish vocabulary. This was interesting for me too because of the connection that was made. I am impressed with how much the students have grown over the past semester and how they have become very comfortable with me.
Today was my last say doing study buddies. I sat with Evan at lunch, and then went back to the room and played card games with him. What a fun and rewarding experience this has been!
Check your reflections, impacts, and amount of time spent in the community engagement component of the course and come to class prepared to express how you fulfilled the required time.
The last impact:
Take a moment to distance yourself from the Language Buddies
activities you have engaged in this semester. Reflect upon all that
you have lived and learned. Now, using your engagement experiences as
a backdrop, respond the following questions in written form:
-How has this experience enabled you to observe your own culture(s)
with new eyes?
-Did you have a particular experience that led you to think critically
about your own culture(s)?
Explain in detail.
This experience has made me realize how much easier it is to communicate and interact in life when everyone speaks the same language and have the same culture. However, something being easier doesn’t mean that it’s better in general. While I knew the importance of diversity before, from this experience in Language Buddies the idea has been reinforced. One student told me about how both of his parents are gone and he’s in a foster home, and I quickly realized how lucky I am to be able to get opportunities and have the privilege to go to a school like Gustavus and have a family that supports me. I never thought about the number of challenges a person would face as an immigrant or if English was their second language. So this experience was particularly eye-opening to me.
Besides that particular experience, another experience that led me to think critically about my own culture was where I was helping a student with his history homework and we were reading out loud. He asked me about a few words that he did not know in English and after I explained what they were, he said the Spanish version of the word. It was interesting because it was clear that this student was very smart, but the language barrier made the class difficult for him. It made me wonder why we do not put even more effort into accommodating students who have English as a 2nd language and made me wonder how much the students should have to conform to the English language/culture rather than be able to use their own language/culture in schools more. I understand why there’s such a push to improve their English and get them more ready for the real world (knowing more language(s) can never hurt) but at the same time it made me wonder if the school systems in America are really doing their best to help ESL (English Second Language) students be successful.
Overall, Language Buddies was a great experience and I really feel like I learned a lot. There were a lot of great connections I made and I wish the best for the students I worked with.
On my way down to the school today I saw my class walking up Jefferson, and found out we were having a day in the arboretum. It was a lot of fun! The kids were full of energy and we played on the swing and sandbox for a while. They kept finding pennies in the sandbox and were very excited. We visited the tulip garden, the pond, and finished up with popsicles outside of the interpretive center that a teacher had generously given us. At the pond there was a scavenger hunt looking for bugs, sticks and trees. This was my second to last time with these kids, and next week on Thursday I will be there for their last day of school. It has been a lot of fun getting to know them, and hopefully I can see them some more next year when they are in the first grade.
Today was a Thursday and I don't normally go to the Middle School on Thursday's so it was a little bit of a different experience today. Another student also came with me today, we were both trying to make up for days that we had missed previously. There were a few different students in the class and the kids weren't hyped up on Friday fever yet. It was just a normal class. They were working on answering questions to a book they had read and the students had made up the questions. I sat down and worked with two girls on understanding where the questions in the book could be located or on deciphering what the questions meant. One understood what was going on more than the other but it was cool to see how they were both working together to try and find the answers in the book. I asked them at the end of class if they were friends and they looked at each other and then looked at me and said that they had only just met that day! I love seeing how easily younger people can get along so easily with someone that they have never met before. I could have sworn they had been friends for a while.
We went swimming together for our last time together!