Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Personal Story- "A new school, a new teacher, a new language- Oh My"

"How exciting!  The first day of school!!!  As an educator, the first day of school has always been one of the most enjoyable and exciting times of the year for me.   The fresh, enthusiasm and optimism emitting and pure joy of seeing kids eager and ready to learn!   I loved decorating the classroom, making it creatively ready for my new crop of little learners to flourish & grow!

The first day of school for the student can be much different however.  Especially when it comes to your OWN children!

NERVES of MUSH!   My eldest daughter just entered the new Lincoln Dual Immersion Language Program, for first grade, A program that we have helped bring to fruition... talked about A LOT and have been very excited about!   She was excited for the school year to begin but apprehensive about her new environment, new school, new teacher, new classmates.. oh my!  That's a dreaded thought to a shy 6 year old.  and to add in A NEW LANGUAGE!   H O L Y   S M O K E S ! ! !    What pressure!

She went in that first morning with a mix of butterflies and enthusiasm... around 12:30pm we got a call from the school nurse that she was ill!   She had a tummy ache!   AND a low-grade temp!   BUMMER DEAL!

Picked her up and watched her go from being down n’ out to "normal" within an hour.... seemed fine the rest of the day thankfully and then went to bed, nervous about school the very next morning!  She had a difficult time falling asleep.  

She was full of apprehensive question after question about SPANISH!  How will I learn it?  When will I understand what my teacher is saying?  How will I know anything?  Why do we have to learn SPANISH???????

Every child wants to succeed.  It could be at checkers, hopscotch, basketball or piano. But it is not natural to want to fail.  Succeeding feels good!  Praise feels great!!  Feeling lost and out of place does not feel good.  Transition is hard.  Supporting your child in any transition is key to their flow of success.  

We talked to her, asked her questions, let her ask us questions and let her know that she was not alone.  One parent so wisely said to me, “maybe this will humble her, teach her humility and understanding of what other’s have to go through,” speaking of her own daughter’s experience on her first day of DLP Kindergarten.   Every life experience can be a learning experience…. Take these moments to teach…. After all, you are your child’s first teacher!   

With time, patience, understanding and support your child WILL flourish… a flower needs sunlight, soil, water, nutrients… all nurturing support in order to bloom…. So do our kids!

The next couple of weeks of school were like a mini rollercoaster ride of emotions… with a few more tummy aches and demands to not go to school,, our daughter struggled, she succeeded, she laughed and she cried.  And we were with her every step of the way.  Not only did we purchase Rosetta Stone to improve our Spanish, but her grandparents did as well!  My mother is a retired teacher and administrator and understands you are NEVER too old to learn! … modeling is HUGE!

Now in our 9th week of school, our daughter IS flourishing!  She scored at benchmark or above in her assessment areas in Spanish!  WOW!  We were not expecting that, at least not 5 or 6 weeks into the new school year.  She is enjoying her new language, still heavily challenged – which is great!  You always want to strive for something, challenge that little sponge in your head… give it new information to tap that unused grey matter….

While typing an email to her grandfather last week our daughter was explaining how she was the first person to be called up for an award in the awards assembly at school and she typed 'MI CLASSE.   Then she read back to herself what she had so easily typed… it flowed off her finger tips like rain drops in a storm…. “What does THAT say Mom?”  I said  'Mi classe… you typed “my class in Spanish!   She quickly erased it and typed in “my class”.  With a smile on her face she said… “how funny I did not even know I did that.”

Without a thought she transferred into Spanish.  It is working! She does not have any more tummy aches… and loves to talk, sing and try her best efforts at reading in Spanish, this new language that is penetrating her neuropathways!   What a gift!

Our daughter and her classmates are now finding solace in the fact that they ARE learning, and noticing signs of comprehension each new day!    The light bulbs are going off!"

Jamie Panziera
Parent of a fresh new 1st grade DLP student


  1. Thank you so much for sharing . Motivating and exciting!!!

  2. I guess I should say... the Light Bulbs are going ON! ; )

  3. Beautiful Story. What an amazing gift we are giving our children!