Finally, they settled on the desperate measure of saying she could do the assignment entirely in Spanish if she would just DO it. This meant, of course, that they needed someone who could READ Spanish so they would know what she wrote...and I was the only teacher available who had a chance of being able to do so.
So, I spent the morning translating her Spanish summaries into English, which her homeroom teacher (one of my team teachers) could then translate into Japanese. (I wish I could have translated directly into Japanese, but my vocabulary in the area of reelection campaigns and free trade agreements is rather limited.)
I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I understood without a dictionary. I studied Spanish for three years in high school and an extra semester in college. After I switched to Japanese, though, every time I tried to compose a Spanish sentence, only Japanese would come out. ^_^; In fact, I had the experience of thinking I was speaking Spanish to someone, only to realize after a while that it was actually Japanese, and the person didn't have a clue what I was saying. Reading, though, was a different matter entirely. I did need a dictionary for some words (and fortunately one of my predecessors left a huge dictionary with sections for Spanish, French, and German included), but I got the gist pretty easily.
One of the articles was about a Spanish language course broadcast on the Japanese public television channel NHK. It is apparently set up so that there are ten "contestants" on the show, all trying to learn Spanish. Every month, the contestants are given an exam, and the one with the lowest score gets kicked off the show. So it's "survival" in a language learning setting. I thought it sounded like it might be a kick to watch. (Okay, this is Japan, so it's probably corny as all get out. But it could be fun...)