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 Diverse Classrooms 
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I'm in Block 1 right now and on Monday we start our internship at an elementary school down the mountain. We've been told that most of the students are on free and reduced lunch and that a majority of them are Hispanic. I'm so excited to be working with the students, because (as some of you know already) I want to teach in a Hispanic country someday after I graduate. I absolutely love the culture.

I know some people aren't as comfortable working with students with whom they cannot communicate very well. I understand this, because it is frustrating to not be able to get your point across... especially when it is what you'll be paid to do.

My questions for everyone are:
- If you ended up teaching in a school where the majority of the students were from a different culture than your own and they spoke mostly their own language, how would you deal with it?
-Should teachers in these schools be offered extra workshops before and during the school year to help them learn the language and about the culture?
-Would you take advantage of these or even find some other way to learn so you could provide as much of an equal opportunity for them as you already can for the white students?

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Dani Martin


Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:41 am
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I think if I were in this position and there were a language barrier, either before taking the job or after taking the job, I would take classes in whatever the dominant language is. I think if I knew that was something I wanted to do, like you said you did, than it would be important for me to take the initiative so that I could better relate to the students.

I also think it would be helpful as a teacher to attend other community events that the students are involved with. For example, in my county we have a large Costa Rican population. In high school I ran cross country with a few guys that were my good friends who were Costa Rican and also played soccer. I would attend their school soccer games. It was because we were friends, but as a teacher it is a way to get to know the students and their parents. Really I think this is true no matter what cultures are dominant. Plays, choral performances, starting clubs, etc are great ways for teachers to understand students in a different way.

I like the idea of workshops for teachers to help them be better prepared. It seems like it would just be a matter of finding funding.. perhaps grants?

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Emily Mackie


Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:59 pm
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If I was ever in that position where the majority of the school was based by a different culture different from my own I would definitely feel less adequate to successfully do my job as a teachers by educating my students. I have no experiences with different cultures and languages so that would be extremely hard for me. Although, I do believe that if they’re opportunities provided to me to be able to learn the languages and different helpful techniques about their customs I would definitely take advantage of those situations. I believe that even though that would be an overwhelming and learning experience it would benefit me for a more diverse teaching style. I too am in Block I and am traveling to Glenn Alpine school this week and am very nervous about the promised wide variety of diversity here. I am very thankful to be able to experience this opportunity in a safe and teachable environment and hope to learn a lot and grow as an educator.

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Britini Murray


Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:24 pm
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Being put into a classroom where most students are from a different culture than you are from can be very intimidating and frustrating. To be honest, that is one of my biggest concerns or fears about teaching. If this were to come up in my life, I would have to consider how prepared I was to teach the students from that culture. If I found that I was not prepared enough, then I would have to think twice before taking the job, not because I don't want to teach them, but because it would be unfair for the students I was teaching. BUT, if the school was willing to assist me and offer classes/sessions where I could learn more about different cultures I would probably take the job. I have always been interested in learning about different cultures, but have never really had the opportunity to do so. To answer one of Dani's questions, I feel that schools offering classes on different cultures to help prepare it's teachers for circumstances like this is a fabulous idea, it definitely wouldn't hurt. I would be one of the first to participate in something like this. I think that this is something that all future teachers should think about because it is very likely that something like this could happen to them.

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Dana Currin


Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:43 pm
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It would be a hard situation to not be able to get you point across and communicate effectively with most of your students. I would try to find more information about their language and culture so I could better understand them. I would also try to get help from the students themselves. I know sometimes a student can be fluent in both languages and might be able to help the teacher understand the other students better and help the other students understand the teacher. I think workshops would be a great help in this situation and I think schools should provide them in this case. I think I would take advantage of the workshops if the school would provide them.

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Brittany Norman


Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:07 pm
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All schools in America will have students from various cultures. It is our job as teachers to provide an equal opportunity for all of them. Therefore, I think what everyone has been saying about learning to speak and understand students' cultures is needed not just if the MAJORITY of the students are of a different culture, but if ANY of your students are in a different culture.
Since we are in America where English in the dominant language, well at least it is right now, we should teach our students to speak English to help them succeed in the real world. However, we should also learn their language and culture to better communicate with our students and to show them we care. If they know we are experiencing the same difficult language situations they are, we will be showing them we're trying to form a relationship with them which will be most beneficial. Workshops should definitely be available to teachers. However, they should be optional, not mandatory because we shouldn't overload our teachers. There are multiple ways to learn about other cultures. Yet the option of workshops would be nice, and I would probably take advantage of them.

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Jessica Placke


Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:14 pm
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I am minoring in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language so I may have some what of an advantage to working with non-native students than some of my co-workers, but of course it will still be a challenge for me. I too have a passion for the hispanic culture. I have found from working with many hispanic children that some of them are the sweetest most greatful kids you could ever meet. These children and not just hispanic but all children who do not have the first language of english, may need a little extra help. But the do catch on very fast. :)

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Hannah Johnson


Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:10 am
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I am doing an internship right now and one of my fourth graders speaks and understands very little English and it is difficult to try and talk to him one on one because I want him to understand me but at the same time I do not want to break it down so much that he gets the feeling that I think he is unintelligent. If I worked in this school full time or any school where kids spoke different languages I would hope that they would offer some type of workshops or classes to help get a better understanding of the culture and the students. I feel like I would want to do anything I could to help make the situation easier for me as well as the student.


Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:37 am
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