Friday, February 20, 2009

each one teach one.

It's been a process over the last few months learning how to take everything I know, distill the things that are really important and try to pass it on. It almost makes it harder to teach the English language when you're so used to studying literature that you take things like capital letters and punctuation marks for granted because you've used them as long as you can remember.

You have to adjust out of explaining plot points to trying to explain basic grammar. Or you're trying to explain the weirdness of the language and why certain things are pronounced one way and others another. It doesn't make any sense really.

I feel bad having ten-year-olds do kindergarten-level work, drawing uppercase and lowercase letters and reading sentences about Jim and Bill eating jam or whatever. But the kids really get into it, wanting me to check their work, and draw them smiley faces and put "100%" on them when they're perfect.

They want me to give them HOMEWORK which just amazes me, and they love math because it's a universal thing and there isn't a language barrier there. I know it's hard for them to sit still after being in school all day, so I bring snacks to keep their energy up, and we play games and do some of their dances. I tell them to bring it home and show it to their parents, and hope they pick up some of it too.

I want to see them be able to express themselves, understand others, and comprehend their world better. I'd like to see them develop a love of reading too and not get frustrated. I can't imagine going through fleeing civil war to the instability of a refugee camp hundreds of miles from home in Tanzania, then getting on a plane and landing here in Cleveland where you end up in school several years behind and not speaking the language.

I'm hoping I can pick up some more skills next weekend when me and the roommate get certified as legit ESL instructors. Theoretically, I can now take this skill anywhere depending on how life works out. I figure there's always more that you can learn.


Randal Graves said...

This is why anyone doing any kind of teaching gets bonus points.

As our former pretzeldent said, it's hard work.

Terri said...

You are a living angel.