A Classroom Language Barrier: Hilarity Ensues

Tracy Willis
Bouncin’ and Behaving Blogs TOO
6 min readJun 21, 2024

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JT & Rosalita

Photo by Afra Ramió on Unsplash

JT was one of my bilingual second graders. I taught at a public school in the Arizona Sonoran desert. It wasn’t unusual to have native Spanish speakers in my classroom who were learning to speak English as a second language.

I can still see his round little face. His smile belonged in a toothpaste commercial. It lit up his face and the entire classroom, and it was made even more endearing by the fact that he’d just lost another tooth. JT loved art projects and recess. He loved his friends and the boa constrictor that lived in the classroom next door. But JT was passionately in love with his chick, Rosalita. He talked about his chick every day.

“Senora, I fed my chick last night after school. Rosalita eats like a pig.”

“Senora, I’m teaching my chick tricks. She plays fetch with me.”

“Senora, your dress is the same color as Rosalita.”

But there was one refrain that I heard every day the week before our spring break, “Senora, when can I bring my chick in for show and tell?”

After days of being pestered, I told him he could bring it to school on the Friday after break.

“Please Senora, will you write my parents a note?”

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Tracy Willis
Bouncin’ and Behaving Blogs TOO

I'm a teacher who woke up one day and asked, “How the hell did I get here?” Writing compels me, and I've learned to listen when the universe speaks. Finally.