“We don’t count”- ELL Student’s

My first year of teaching was quite interesting and I felt unprepared. I work at a campus where 98% of the students are Hispanic. Being from California I was not bothered by demographics, but after my first day I felt like a fish out of the water. My first period class loved the team building activity and I felt the nervous butterflies go away. When second period walked in I was no longer nervous and felt very confident about at the least the first day. I explained the game and just like first period I expected them to have fun and get started. Then something odd happened. They all just stared back at me like they didn’t understand a word I was saying. I asked them how many of them spoke English. In a class of 15 only 6 could speak and read English. The rest of the class was new to America and could only speak Spanish. Before we move on 1. NO I don’t speak Spanish. 2. I did not know I had a class that didn’t speak English 3. I am not certified to teach ELL’s. I felt like a ton of bricks just landed on my head. What was I supposed to do? I went to countless trainings, but they had said the same thing “show lots of pictures, level 1 students are good at copying, give students sentence stems, allow them time to practice speaking English. There was nothing on how to effectively engage students in the lesson. Let’s have an honest moment as teachers we are faced with making tough decisions, because our campus care so much about data. (1) Do we spend the bulk of our time on the ELL’s who “don’t count” in our data or do we spend our time trying to reach the students who “count” positively and negatively to our data? (2) How do we teach students who feel and say “Miss, I don’t speak very good English and I don’t count so why should I learn”? I don’t know about you, but as a teacher this broke my heart. I felt determined to find a way to teach all students no matter their language. Stay tuned for student engagement suggestions. Lexington &concord (1)

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