I always have good intentions to speak to my Spanish students in Spanish but it doesn't always work out that way. I usually am good about saying "abran a la página setenta y siete" (open to pg. 77) or "saquen y pásenme la tarea" (take out and pass me the HW) but I could (and needed) to do more. The Spanish III teacher has been on my case about it and when I went to a reading conference last week I was reminded of how important it is and I was revved up to try it again (since the last time I tried to do "all Spanish" the kids just stared at me and I gave up after a few days of trying).
So on Monday as I was driving to work I remembered that I had wanted to start speaking Spanish to them at least half of the class period (since sometimes I do find it necessary to explain grammar in English if they can't figure out what it is supposed to mean). I had thought about putting on a wig or dressing up but I thought that I wouldn't be able to do that every day and I wanted this to be a daily occurrence so I thought about a sign that says "I don't speak English, speak to me in Spanish". Cheesy right? I wondered if I would I be able to pull it off, but then I thought, I am pretty dorky sometimes and decided to go for it.
I made a sign and tied it around my neck and stood at the door Monday as each of the students came in. Each period it was the same, they'd smile and start to say "hi" or "hola" and then look down at my sign, mumble something in English or Spanish and then try to speak to me in English and then when I answered, "lo siento, no hablo inglés" (sorry, but I don’t speak Spanish) they'd sigh and either try to speak to me in Spanish or just go and sit down. I was anxious to see how it'd go but by the end of the day I think that I was beaming. They all bought into it (save a few stinkers that I had to continue saying, "¿Qué?" and "lo siento, pero no entiendo inglés" to) and most of them (although not all were enjoying it) were trying and even though their Spanish wasn't perfect they were listening to me (and responding) and trying to speak in Spanish.
The second day some were a bit dismayed at first to see the sign but still tried to speak Spanish. Two of the classes wouldn't let me take off the sign to speak in English the last ten minutes. And it was the same today. Most of them are really enjoying the challenge even if they're still having a hard time spitting out what they need to say. I have really great classes this year! :)
This morning second period one of my students, Kim, made my day (and made me laugh out loud!) She came in with her own sign. ¿A ustedes les gusta el letrero de Kim? :) (If you can't read her sign it says, "Lo siento señora Marcroft, pero, no hablo español esta semana." (Sorry Mrs. Marcroft but I don’t speak Spanish this week)