We hosted a learning session last night for our new to Canada Refugee families from Syria last night with an amazing CBE DLSA (Diversity & Learning Support Advisor) whose speaks Arabic.
Our presentation was in Arabic. Our PowerPoint was in Arabic. Questions were in Arabic.
I stood there and looked pretty… (You can argue about that below in the comments!)
Over the course of about 90 minutes, I tried to listen and figure out words, hints about emotions, understandings, and try to see the relationships that were developing between the parents, kids, the DLSA, our teachers, and myself. Unlike French or Spanish, I could not see words on the PowerPoint for clues. I could not hear similar words between languages, as if I was listening to a Spanish speaker and could pick up some understanding.
After an hour, I had such a headache…
After an hour, I was able to go back to my normal little English world…
Put yourself in the place of these parents or kids. I am in a classroom in a new country, in a new city, with new teachers I can barely communicate with (I am getting very good at Charades!), with new kids, not understanding expectations or how to ask questions… That would make for a long, tiring day.
Thankfully, in the end, kids are much more resilient that us old people, and their brains will learn much faster than mine.
What an eye-opener that was…
P.S. Thanks to Google Translate! https://translate.google.com/