When I walked into my Advanced Spanish classroom yesterday, I saw the words “Happy St. Valentine’s Day, Brianna!” written on the board. The message was written in Spanish and Brianna* later told me that her boyfriend, who doesn’t speak a word of Spanish, had found out how to write the Spanish version of the greeting so that the Spanish -only environment I strive to create in my classroom would not be disrupted. That was very thoughtful and respectful, so I really appreciated it.
Still, it felt kind of strange to have that message there when it was directed at just one student and everybody else was left out. I wasn’t going to erase the message because that would be mean, so I just wrote “AND EVERYBODY ELSE” under it in huge letters (in Spanish, of course.) It made the students so happy to be included in the greeting that I felt really good about my decision.
* Obviously, the name has been changed.