As part of their final project, five students in Prof. Megan Solon's ASPN 403 (Spanish for Teachers) course elected to partner with the Delaware Community School's dual-language program this fall, volunteering at least one hour a week within a dual-language classroom to experience teaching firsthand.
Students Sydnie Alvarez, Alexandra Harvey, Janice Lau, Tyana Mason, and Crystal Sanchez were each paired with a specific teacher and class, and each UAlbany student assists the teacher during at least one hour of class each week on Fridays—a day during which course work and class time is carried out in Spanish. These five UAlbany students have assisted in designing and leading science experiments, participated in school-wide parades celebrating Hispanic heritage, provided one-on-one tutoring to students needing additional help, and created math activities geared toward fun and interactive practice with numbers and measurements in Spanish.
“The SUNY student has been [a] great help with working with one of my struggling students in Spanish”
–1st grade teacher
The teachers and principal of Delaware Community School have praised these five students for their dedication and hard work in the class, and several of the students have commented that the experience has given them an important hands-on look at the realities of teaching. The partnership appears to have had a successful first semester! Many of the students have elected to volunteer additional hours each week at the school, and several intend to continue their volunteer work with the same classes next semester. This partnership between the UAlbany Spanish program and the Delaware Community School dual-language program, initiated by Lecturer Leonardo Correa, will continue in Spring 2017 through a new course on Spanish for Community Engagement (ASPN 409).
"I've been doing work with Delaware Community School and I love what I have learned so far. This is the first time I have been able to closely work with students who are learning/ know Spanish at such a young age and it's amazing to see how different each student is. In my class, the students are divided into different groups depending on their level of Spanish. One of the most important things that I have learned so far is that each student is unique and that in order to get them to speak and be comfortable, you have to tap into their interests. I have been able to speak to the students during recess and while I was teaching them and it has gone so well that they have asked if I would be staying with them through out the entire year. I think it's amazing that these students are in this curriculum because it helps a lot of the students who live in a bilingual house hold. I also think the teacher is amazing because she structures her class in a way where all of the students respect her and you can see the progress the kids go through. I truly enjoy volunteering at the school and my wish is to stay here as long as possible."
--Crystal Sanchez (junior)
"As a junior contemplating a career in early childhood education it was great to be able to volunteer at a school which incorporated two things which are so important to my college experience; my Spanish major and my future career as an educator."
--Alexandra Harvey (junior)