19 April 2011

wot is dis?

(Again...words and images totally unrelated. The girl is nearing the next birthday and the Mamma is a bit affected by that.)

A One-Year-Old Young One in a Sink in a Hotel in Prague
May 2005

Young One:  Mamma, do you think my English teacher already knows how to write in English?

Me: Sure she does.Why?

Young One (with a great imitation of an Italian with heavily accented English):  I am really tired of "Ey-llo" and "Goooodbye." It's always "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ... 10." Or  "Wot is dis?

Easter Sunday in Vicenza
March 2008

This year the English classes are two hours a week, and I am surprised that it has taken her this long to complain. I've heard stories from friends (Italian / American mixed families) of how this scenario has played out in classrooms across this area; it's usually not a good thing for a multitude of reasons. Of course, at the semester she did not receive exceptionally high (read: the highest possible) marks in English, even though she is a native speaker and much of the first grade curriculum (that we've seen) is focused on speaking. Richard suggests perhaps the teacher is evaluating other things, like how well she can color or sit still for those weekly two hours. He may be on to something. We both want to believe that the teacher is doing the best that she can.

In the Outfield (Vicenza)
May 2009

My knee-jerk reaction is "Whatever, I'll just teach her myself," but I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated and could lead to bigger problems over the five years of elementary school. I'm concocting a suggested plan of differentiated instruction (current buzzword in American education) for Young One for next school year. Ha. We'll see how well that goes over. I do know that the main teacher differentiates in her daily teaching; I have a feeling that this English teacher may not be so open to it, even with me providing support materials. I will tread softly.

I also realize that I need to take the English lessons at home to another level; she knows quite a bit, but I've been decidedly lazy about taking her further. The girl wants equal fluency. How strange to be able to read and write in your second language before being able to do so in your first language! Hmmm....is there, then, a true first and second for her? Do I have them confused? Is there such a thing as two firsts?

Young One & Obi Out Back in the Paese
November 2009
I'm trying to curb the mocking of the teacher, nonetheless, but it's not always easy because her imitation is pretty much right on. She has the gift of hearing / knowing the nuances of both languages. She is pretty dang funny, too. I know, I know, I know... it's wrong, just wrong.

Wot is dis?
Dis is a bhadd gerrl.

Young One @ Lake Blue Ridge, Georgia
August 2010

Ha! Or maybe just a bad Mamma ;)


  1. Loved seeing all the photos from when she was little and even some recent that you haven't shown before. I can even hear how she is repeating the words of her teacher and while funny I totally understand how it is not funny. I don't know why it is, but especially around this age group the complaints of learning a two languages occurs. I do know that evenutally it all works itself out because our 12 year old can read and write in two languages.

  2. So funny, at least you keep good company with other bad mothers. I was wondering today if something happened and we had to move back would my first grader qualify for ESL classes, because he would really need them.

  3. Yes, good company indeed. I wonder if we should start a Saturday morning school to teach these kids to read and write in English! Nah...
    I do hope to make progress with it this summer, but the amount of teacher-given summer work will likely determine how much progress she makes. I believe in summer break.... with stress on BREAK.


  4. My daughters both went through this as well. The Italian school we went to though was very careful not to differentiate...all students MUST be treated equally. (In first grade mothers were irate that my daughter was given more advanced English exercises--the teacher didn't want her to be bored--but they were promptly stopped!). By fifth grade though...the teachers were using my daughter to teach the class and it became a great learning experience for her. So read, read, read at home and let her natural abilities for both languages come as they may! Enjoy the ride!

  5. An interesting situation, but I imagine as another commenter has already mentioned it works out in the end, she is very young still.
    Loved the photos in the last post of your recent trip.

  6. THanks for the support. I have faith that it will all work out in the end. I just wish the teacher were a bit friendlier. Her English teacher at the asilo had great confidence and used Young One as a special helper and such. This one doesn't care to recognize that the child is an native speaker ... a bit frustrating.

    Admittedly, I have not met with her, so she may have a different story of reality.