Monique Moore recognized that Spanish-speaking parents of her kindergarten class were struggling to keep up between parent-teacher conferences. The solution? She got DonorsChoose.org to help raise money for Spanish classes at Fluent City.
Monique has been a New York City public school teacher for thirteen years. After nine years teaching in Prospect Heights, Monique became one of the founding teachers of South Williamsburg elementary school Brooklyn Arbor in 2012. The school is based in an area with several Latino families, some of whom are not as strong in English. Though the school provides translators for parent-teacher conferences, Monique wants to talk directly with parents in everyday situations:
“I want parents to not just keep up at teacher conferences but day to day. They should feel welcome and comforted.”
Monique came across Fluent City in a search for “Spanish classes for adults.” After reading Fluent City’s five-star Yelp reviews, Monique turned to crowd-funding platform DonorsChoose.org, which had recently launched a professional development pilot program for teachers to get conferences and classes funded. DonorsChoose.org is a crowd funding service that helps teachers raise money for classroom supplies, field trips, and more. To date, the site has helped 16 million students with donors funding 652,217 projects. Luckily, Monique’s project got funded and she enrolled in Fluent City’s Spanish 3, her first Spanish class in sixteen years.
“My first day was so great. I sat there and went, ‘why did I wait so long to do this?'”
Monique says the Spanish classes have already helped her to communicate more effectively in everyday situations such as student dismissal. For young students, a parent or caregiver is required to check out students before they can leave. Says Monique, it is not unusual to have a family friend swing by who needs help and speaks very little English:
“When we dismiss the students, we often have family friends come to my door for pickup. We need to ask how old, what grade they are in. By knowing a little Spanish, I can help the right person find the right child.”
Monique says one of these situations happened just last week, when a native Spanish speaker was searching for her granddaughter. By knowing a bit of Spanish, Monique was able to calmly explain her granddaughter was with the nurse and help provide directions.
Everyday hero Monique is invested in learning Spanish, and recently checked out The Cat In The Hat in Spanish from the library, recognizing children’s books are the perfect way to work on preterite and imperfect tenses since they are often told in past tense. She has also made sure that Spanish-speakers at the school including Brooklyn Arbor’s security guard, parent coordinator and secretary know she is learning Spanish so she can find authentic moments to practice. Though she prefers to speak in English with her students, she has dropped a few Spanish phrases at opportune moments:
“It’s a nice surprise. They definitely don’t expect it.”
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