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Virginia Journal of Education

Ten Minutes with…Elizabeth Clavel Love

Position: Bilingual Family Resource Assistant, Campbell Elementary School
Local Assn.:  Arlington Education Association     
Years worked in education: 25

What is a typical school day like for you? 
Every day is different. I start by giving a welcome to students and families every morning. If some parents need help filling out school papers or registering a child into an after school program, I help explain their choices. Sometimes the families need me as an interpreter to talk to teachers about concerns or questions they have related to homework, field trips, etc. Most of my time I spent doing translations into Spanish for families to know about school activities, and I also handle phone calls to answer questions for the families or take messages for the teachers. I coordinate meetings between educators and families and interpret during them.

Every three months, I request interpreters for parent-teacher conferences and, during those conferences, I organize donations for families in need. On Tuesdays and Fridays I interpret for Especial Education meetings. Every month I update our school’s website to let the Spanish-speaking families know about school activities. Twice a year I coordinate parenting programs for the Latino community. One of the programs teaches parents skills or interactions which improve children’s academic achievement, communication with family members, and self-esteem. Another program creates a link between home and school through development of a consistent environment of high academic expectations, standards and care, which leads to achievement. These programs develop parents as leaders, teachers and advocates. We also help immigrant parents who want to deepen their understanding of how the school system works in the United States and how to navigate it effectively. We focus on promoting family involvement.

What do you like about your job?
I love to serve the Latino community, to help them in any way I can. I love to teach parents how to advocate for their children, or how to raise their children in the United States. I feel very happy when I can see them taking the initiative to ask questions, becoming a leader, and getting involved in the school. It’s amazing! Another passion I have in my job is to find different opportunities to teach the parents how to work with computers, how to teach math to their children, what the reading levels are for English Language Learners, how to read a book with their children, etc.

What is hard about your job?
It is very hard to hear sad stories from children and families about the way they came to the United States, or when they come and talk to me about a personal problem and I can’t really find any resource around to help them.

What are some of the most fun and unusual things that have happened on the job?
I run into families and children everywhere. This summer, my mother and I were walking around at Potomac Mills Mall and we heard a little voice call, “Ms. Clavel!” A little one was running toward us so she could say hi to me. Afterwards at the swimming pool we found a group of students from my school having fun there, and when I jumped in with my son, everyone wanted to join our game of Shark. My mom was so happy because all those little people really appreciate me.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you?
The Association keeps me informed about issues regarding education and our working conditions. Our building representative is awesome—whenever I have a question, she either has the answer or can get me one quickly. When something important is coming up, we get all the important information we need.




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