Bilingual Classroom Aids

Charlie Sabella and Violet Wang

My name is Maria Linda Grimaldi and I am originally from Peru. I have worked as a bilingual aid for seven years here at Casa Grande and 19 years in the Petaluma City Schools district. I’ve worked with many different schools – elementary schools, Kenilworth and now I’m here and I love it. I love to work with young people, especially newcomer students who don’t speak English. They can often struggle not only academically, but also socially and emotionally so we have to guide them towards a good path in society.

    In an average day, I start out as a bilingual clerk in the attendance office helping parents. Then, I work with counselors and teachers, doing tasks such as translation for conferences. In the afternoon, I go into the classroom and help students. I translate and explain the class for newcomers and we also do tutorial and homework with them at office hours.

    I come back each year because I love the Latinx community. I love to help these parents and students because I am an immigrant too, so I went through exactly what they are doing right now – adjusting to the different language, food, people, culture. That’s why I love to work with this community. My favorite part is when I see the students complete two, three, four years of high school and get a diploma. Helping them reach that achievement is my goal.

My name is Rosa Marazuela. I worked as a family lawyer in Spain, but my husband and I ended up moving here for his company. Since I couldn’t use my background in law here, I decided to study English as a second language at the Santa Rosa Junior College. I ended up volunteering at the Cinnabar School. That’s how I knew helping students and using my Spanish skills was a good path for me. My mother was a teacher too, so it made sense. I saw that there are many students that come from different countries and speak Spanish as a first language. I realized my opportunity, because I feel really comfortable speaking Spanish and I can help others. 

    Now, I am so happy here. I think that the students are so responsible and they really appreciate what we are doing her in the bilingual office. Families are always very polite and in the end, we are their link to school and that’s why I enjoy this job. 

       To be honest, some days are exhausting – working with different students that have different needs. Some need more support in math, and others in biology or government. There is just a huge range of students here, and that is something that is great. The teachers are very supportive, and I love seeing how we can make a little difference everyday in these students’ lives. For us, that is really a reward, and I love it.