Spanish Teachers as Impromptu Translators and Liaisons in New Latino Communities



Abstract: Recent shifts in immigrant settlement patterns are bringing new Latino communities to areas of the Midwest and Southeast that are unaccustomed to educating multilingual students. Schools in these areas often lack resources for communicating with students and their families. In this article we document how Spanish teachers in new Latino communities are being asked to serve as unofficial translators and interpreters in many contexts. We further show that teachers are being asked to take demanding roles as surrogate counselors, administrators, and teachers in other subject areas. We consider teachers' varying attitudes and responses to these new demands and discuss the implications for the field of world language education in terms of professional education and policy.