Friday, July 24, 2009

No Krafts Here

I'm stepping away from crafty blogging today because I want to talk about my other obsession, teaching!

Yesterday I finished teaching my summer course which was a Speaking and Listening class for English as a Second Language. I've been teaching now for about three years but had yet to teach a beginning beginning class until now. What an experience! This class housed at least six different native languages and 18 students which is quite large for an ESL class! The ages ranged from 17 to mid fifties.

These students came in knowing NOTHING. For a fast talker like myself, slowing my speech down was quite a challenge and making sure all of the students were comprehending what I was saying was a nonstop task but one that I loved! I have a theory about teaching adults - if you make a fool of yourself and have fun, your students will better remember what the crazy teacher once did or said and will take that with them better than a boring teacher who just read this and that. I figure if you have fun, they will have fun. And lord knows, I have LOTS of fun in my classes! I act the fool and act out words, draw horrible stick figures on the board and sing funny songs, all in hopes that something about that will stick with them. It seems like it works too. And it seems like they really enjoy class. It is so so so rewarding.

There's my rave, now here's my rant.

Sometimes I get so frustrated with people. I see my students working so hard to make it here while sending money back home, taking care of their children and spouses, working night jobs, taking the bus to class and so on. Their motivation is inspiring. Then I will get comments such as this, "Why are you teaching those foreigners English? They're just going to take our jobs." or "Aren't they all illegal? Why are you helping them?" I fight the urge to unleash on these people. I try to be as calm and collected with my responses while defending those that inspire me so. I try not to be rude. Catch me on a bad day though and I'm sorry ;) I just get so fed up with people complaining about immigrants not learning the language here and blah blah blah. And then these same people complain when opportunities are offered to them to learn the language! I guess those people will just never be happy.

I've been in the situation my students are in. To be in a country where you don't fully understand nor speak the native language. To look different than the majority. To feel completely out of place somewhere that is not truly your home. I commend anyone who takes those risks and follows a dream, puts themselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, who inspires others to try. So I thank my students and I thank those in our community who support ANYONE to learn and to make a better life.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly that having a fun, silly teacher makes a world of difference. I bet you are the best teacher they could possibly have, because pretty much anyone would prefer to learn a new language from someone who was compassionate AND goofy. :-)

    That would really tick me off to hear people automatically jump to all kinds of conclusions about good, honest people. I've tried to learn a new language as an adult, and it was really difficult. I don't even know how to speak the language I set out to learn because I gave up on it. So yeah, you will never catch me bashing on someone who is attempting to make their way in a new place and take on a totally different language.

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  2. I thank you so much, not just for your hard work and dedication to such an underappreciated field-- teaching ESL, but I am also grateful for your courage to bring up a topic that makes some upset. My family and I came to the United States in about 25 years ago. I was 7 years old and the oldest of four children. I still remember everyone sounding what I thought was like parrots. My father worked and paid taxes and put us through school. My parents have run their own uphostery business for a decade now and donate some of their services for schools to raise money and my sisters and I volunteer for several programs around Oklahoma and Texas, two of us are now teachers for public schools. Anyways, I could go own as how we strive to be productive citizens (which are now), but the point is that there were people, like you, who taught and encouraged us throughout the way. They were a blessing to us and we are eternally grateful, as I am sure your students are towards you. XO
    CE

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