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Helping My Spanish ELLs Online

by Tonja Taylor  
3/07/2021 / Education


I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart. --Psalm 40:8, Berean Study Bible

As Psalm 37:4 says, when we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the desires and secret petitions of our hearts. As various Bible-based ministers have stated, this doesn't mean He gives us whatever we want. It means He works with us through His Spirit and His Word to align our desires with His, and then it is easy for Him to give us what we desire, for our desires are of Him, and thus we are delighted!

The LORD knows all things. God is good! (¡Dios es bueno!) I have admired the Spanish language and desired to speak more of it through the years, knowing that, ultimately, the LORD Jesus Christ (El Señor Jesucristo) will use it as a tool to communicate with others to draw them to Himself.

Very recently, the LORD gave me a position as an online reading tutor for lower elementary kids, where there is a large Latino population. I was excited for many reasons--including the opportunity to truly communicate with my Spanish ELLs (English Language Learners)!

So this was another of my desires--obviously from Him (and another strong sign of that is, if we desire to do something (never against the Word, and something that will benefit us and others in good ways) and that desire persists year after year after year, then it is almost always a desire He has given us, and He will help us take steps to make it happen.

It was a blessing to be able to use the basic Spanish I knew, and I actually could tell that my Spanish English Language Learners--who really spoke no English at all, and were thus silent, listening and watching, and taking it all in--were understanding my basic Spanish (not just my TPR (Total Physical Response, meaning using hand signals, facial expressions, body language, etc.)) and obeying me.

Of course, I also used small white boards and the books and held them up to the camera, to demonstrate what I wanted. But some things were them replying to my spoken (in Spanish) commands. Also, several of my students were bilingual, and understood both languages. Only our sweet, loving Father could coordinate such a Blessing! The kids were blessed because I was using both languages, and I was blessed too. God always constructs a "win-win"!

Good teaching is continual improvement of processes, and the LORD gave me more ideas the weekend before the third week: To also write the expectations for the class, which I'd posted on the wall behind me so we could quickly review them at the beginning of every class, in Spanish. That way, the Spanish ELLs could see both languages at once, which is a tool that helps me learning Spanish, in some cases.

He also led me to do this with the class affirmation--"I am excellent--every day, every way!" (Soy excelente, todos los días, en todos los sentidos!) I had started out with several affirmation statements, but not only did that take too much time at the beginning of class, because I'd say one, then the class would say one, and sometimes we'd have to start over. Or, as I tried later, I'd ask them to repeat the seven affirmations with me, but some would lag behind or go ahead, and with everyone's mikes on, it was just too distracting, and not synchronus enough to be effective. Plus, some of the more struggling readers (which included the two Spanish ELLs) were having a hard time following me.

So, dear Father God gave me the understanding to combine all of the affirmations (which come from the Bible, although they are not blatantlyl written as Scripture) into one, which covers it all. This is much more efficient, and works very well.

Also, now with a real need to use Spanish to help others, I was now super-motivated to quickly add more Spanish to my knowledge base. The LORD has helped me discover many excellent free resources. When I feel I've exhausted them, then I'll look into a paid course.

So I'm having a lot of fun, utilizing this delightful skill, and truly helping all the students to comprehend what I'm teaching--while, most of all, helping to understand I care for them and find them each unique and special! Also, before I teach each time, the LORD helps me remember to yield to Him, for He is the Master Teacher Who created each student and knows more than anyone what they need.

I rejoice that He puts His words in my mouth, and sometimes I am aware that He is leading me a new direction that I'd planned--but always exactly what those little ones need!

How great is our God! (¡cuán grande es nuestro Dios!)_

Tonja K. Taylor is a joyful, free worshiper, teacher, author, wife, and mother who adores helping others know the sweet faithfulness of God. Through her YouTube channel, "River Rain Creative Arts" and other platforms, she tutors people around the world in faith, worship, writing, health, and more.

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