Wednesday, March 24, 2010

De do bharail?

I've been back at work now for over a month. The transition has been rather smooth, taing do dhia!

I'm a teacher. I teach at a small, rural school of 125 students; I teach grades primary (aka Kindergarten) through to grade 12. (I know... the poor little things come in the door in grade primary and they don't get rid of me as a teach until they walk across that stage and get their graduation diploma!) Among other subjects, the largest part of my caseload is Gaelic language and Gaelic culture.

How does this fit in with being a mom? Well...

Gaelic is my second language. I learned it in university; in fact, it was my minor. Although I come from a family tree steeped in Gaelic tradition on both sides of my family + my husband's, it is not a language I speak on a regular basis.

When DD was a baby I spoke a lot of Gaelic to her. Actually, I spoke a lot of Gaelic to her up until she was about 3 years old and she "mastered" the English language. Suddenly, Gaelic took the back burner because whenever I would speak to her in Gaelic, she would answer in English. And so, the use of Gaelic in our house declined. When DS came along, we still exposed him to Gaelic music and some Gaelic phrases here and there, but he didn't/doesn't have nearly the same amount of Gaelic spoken to him.

Now that I'm back to work, I teach the Gaelic language on average about 3 hours a day. Mind you, once I pop by the babysitter's to pick up the kids, my mind is thinking in Gaelic, thus, I'm speaking more Gaelic to them. This has been met with mixed reactions. Sometimes DD will say,
"Teach me more Gaelic, Mommy" (I always usually write Mommy the Gaelic way "Mamaidh"; it still sounds the same, FYI!)
while other times she'll say,
"I don't wanna be talking Gaelic!"
This is an inner battle for me. I want to be speaking more Gaelic to them both, but it seems the increasingly English world has truly taken them over.

I'm curious as to whether other bilingual moms/dads/families have similar inner battles.
As the title of this post says, "What's your opinion?"


  1. I think you're doing the right thing: exposing her to the language, talking to your kids in Gaelic, but letting them answer how they wish. I've heard of some bilingual families (or families learning another language) declare one day as Second Language day. In other words, on Wednesdays, they speak French.

    Of course, like all my advice, it's backed by little evidence. I don't speak a second language fluently, so it's kind of like a vegetarian advising you on the best cuts of meat.

  2. LOL
    Thanks for the input. It's an inner battle as I said. Parenting = there's truly no right way! ;)


Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post! ~Dawn