Summertime is a great time to kick back, soak up the sun and catch up on all those things that you’ve been wanting to do.  If one of those things that you’ve been wanting to do is to better communicate with your Spanish-speaking students and their parents, there is no better time to do so than right now!  Why not impress your colleagues, and your students AND their parents with all that you’ve learned when you head back to school!  Spanish With Class and The Extra Steps are great, light-hearted workbooks that will assist you with speaking Spanish at school and at school events.  And, they’re fun.  (Come on, how many times have you said to a colleague, “You know, I’d really like to learn a little Spanish.  I just don’t know where to get started).  Formal classes can bombard you with too much vocabulary that you don’t need and grammar that you can’t use.  Why not learn just what YOU need to learn for school?

When you do head back to school, you can immediatley start practicing what you’ve been learning.  One thing that many administrators and teachers may not realize is that they have an invaluable and accessible resource everyday at school to help them even more as they learn Spanish.  What is that resource?  Your Spanish-speaking students, of course!  Be they 5 or 18-years old, these students will LOVE to help you practice and learn.  Make sure that when you pass them in the hallway or see them in class, that you get help with a vocabulary word or phrase.  They absolutely relish the idea of being able to help you learn their language.  Not only that, they’re flattered that you’ve taken an interest in their heritage, culture and language.  Don’t be shy!  You will invariably get a giggle out of the younger ones, and the older ones will just kind of grin as they help you.  And don’t stop there!  When Mom and Dad come for Back-to-School Night or Open House, let them know that you’re learning as well.  Nothing can bridge the gap of communication more than being honest about your intentions to speak their language.

So relax, have fun and take it one step at a time.  Remember, learning a language is NOT a goal.  It’s a journey, (and should be a fun one at that)!