Sally has reached that age where she will not reveal what she did at school today. Even under extreme pressure from mastermind interrogation techniques (Mom singing the songs from Barbie and The Diamond Castle), she deflects the conversation to her latest drawing of a unipegicorn and, on a weak day, she’ll only confess that “Serenity is my best friend and Emma H. is a little mean.”
But last week she was positively loquacious on the subject of what she would be missing if we were late. (I don’t know where she gets this compulsion to be on time for things).
If we were late, she’d miss DOL and weather and calendar and jobs. Jobs is especially important, because everyone has a job to do to make the classroom work, and it changes every day.
What kind of jobs? I asked (because I’m an interested parent). Sally said the jobs are like messenger, eraser, line leader, Yurelli’s Buddy, librarian, lunch count. I asked which was her favorite (because I’m also an involved parent). And then I said, Wait. What’s Yurelli’s Buddy?
Well, she said, Yurelli doesn’t speak English, so if you’re her buddy then you sit by her all day and explain everything to her and if you get your work done early, you can take her around the classroom and point things out to her. Miss Thompson put labels on the “door” and “cabinet” and “rug,” and you can teach Yurelli how to say those things.
But you don’t speak Spanish, I said. How do you explain things to her if you don’t speak Spanish and she doesn’t speak English?
Sally couldn’t really explain how this language exchange works, and apparently Yurelli is still struggling with English, but the kids in the class like getting the Yurelli’s Buddy assignment, and Sally likes it when Eurelli plays with her posse on the playground.
Probably the whole class should be learning Spanish (and German and French and Chinese). And maybe Yurelli should be in a special bilingual program that celebrates her unique heritage, blah blah blah, but I think it’s kind of cool that Yurelli gets a new buddy every day and that the kids enjoy touring around the classroom with her.
If we ever move to Italy or Argentina or Tasmania, I imagine there would be tons of kids lining up to be Sally’s Buddy, if only so she can teach them how to draw a pegicornasus.