I wish I made more money. Then I 'd be able to afford a top-notch, highly intensive course in Spanish. In a district in which over 50% of our students speak Spanish, we teachers should be given professional development that teaches us academic and conversational Spanish.
My Spanish speaking skills used to be much better, thanks to Senora Mosely and the dozens of Spanish speaking line-cooks from my restaurant days. Today, I can carry a very basic conversation, maybe kindergarten level or less. Proficiency would have made a difference today in a parent-teacher conference.
I've made it my mission from now on to not be afraid to attempt communicating with our Spanish speaking student. If our many bilingual students who feel insecure about their English proficiency (often hiding behind the language barrier), observe me trying, and often failing, to communicate with them, perhaps they will begin to feel more confident that we don't judge them because of their inability to speak English perfectly.
A group of ELL students have recently decided I'm acceptable to talk with. This group, who are in my study hall, would often ignore me or yell at me in Spanish if I tried to get them to sit down or quiet down. But once I started communicating in Spanish, they've begun to ask me questions and even say hello in the hallway.