February 17, 2014
Blog 3 (Rodriguez)
Try Walking In These Shoes
This piece “Aria” by Richard Rodriguez was the one that I could really connect to because of my service learning project and how the classroom is bilingual. Richard Rodriguez argues that students miss a lot of information by not being taught in their family’s first language. I can see this even nowadays in my service learning class, like that of “Ricardo” in “Aria” I can see this whole piece playing out in my service learning project. For one HUGE difference; my teacher DOES take the time to tell the students the instructions in both English AND Spanish. So when I read this piece I can see how my students feel, when they always hear English, but then go home to a Spanish speaking house. Another key point that Richard points out is that the English teachers are trying to change his name to the way that they would say it in English and not the way his name is correctly said; for when the teachers call him he hears “Rich-heard” but in reality his name is Ricardo. Also how happy Ricardo got when he answered the question correctly in English, felt a part of belonging and assurance.
I see these main points throughout the day as I am in my service learning. Though times have changed, these issues do still exist. Because when my teacher sees a student not paying attention, it is mostly when he or she speaks Spanish, but my teacher is telling the instructions in English. Like that of Ricardo, the students are just hearing noises rather than focusing on the English because they are timid and afraid I feel, the same way Ricardo first was, always being greeted in English, told what to do in English. But when the teacher says the instructions in Spanish all the eyes are on her with heads nodding. Whenever a student that is behind says a correct answer or adds in a comment about the subject, my teacher always points it out. Saying “oh my god that is so smart” “great job” all positive reinforcement for the kids to bring up their ego and let them feel excited. The look on the children’s faces when they get something correct is truly blessing, smiling from ear to ear, and she points it out so they do get that feeling of belonging to the classroom.
This piece made me relate to not only in my service learning but when I visit my old roommate in Florida. Like Richard says about students who speak Spanish and cannot understand English, I was put in the opposite of that. I was in a Spanish speaking house, when I could count the amount of Spanish words I knew on one hand. I felt like I didn’t belong when they spoke Spanish, but I was not going to make them change their household just for me, but they would also speak English and ask me things in English because they knew I did not understand very much Spanish at all. But one thing that stands out to me now, that I can imagine how students feel, was that my roommates uncle was always next to me telling me they were talking about me, saying things about me, he did it all in fun and I know they weren’t. But without me knowing that he was kidding, makes me realize that’s how students feel, they can never tell if something is being said about them in good or bad ways. I feel as though, and have felt as though this is one of the biggest problems we face in America; the languages.