I teach the Spanish for Spanish speakers classes at Jefferson High School. This class is a bit different than traditional Spanish class in that all students already have a solid background in the Spanish language. Many of them are the children of immigrants, but some are immigrants themselves.
Last year, I booked a speaker for a presentation for Hispanic Heritage month. In his presentation, he spoke of the challenges and successes he has had in his life, while ending with his own career path. It spoke to the kids and spoke to me. I realized that my students need to see, hear and meet people who look like them, may have had similar life experiences and success in their chosen career paths.
I began to invite Latino members of the community to speak about their lives and careers. Speakers began visiting once a month. Then every two weeks. Now speakers come in to share their stories weekly. Past speakers include a nurse, army recruiter, artist, retired police officer, plastic surgeon, an accountant, several employees from UTC Aerospace Systems and a captain from the Rockford Fire Department. Future speakers include an RPS 205 translator, a cosmetologist, an airplane mechanic, realtor, social worker, probation officer, flight attendant, FBI agent and many more! Some are returning speakers, and many others are doing this for the first time.
There has been an overwhelming response from both the community and the students. Not only are students learning about a variety of career paths, they are learning that they are not limited one bit by being an immigrant or the children of immigrants. They are meeting a multitude of role models who each week tell them "si se puede" (yes you can)!
Distance Learning will give teachers an opportunity to reach students and their families directly and provide a week of lessons at a time.
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