Back in the Classroom

I love to teach! I haven’t taught a class in almost two years and I just realized how much I’ve missed it. Well, correction, I do trainings weekly for work. That’s teaching too, and I enjoy it. But these classes are something extra special.

Tonight I started an ESL Reading and Writing course at a local university. I can’t tell you the thrill I get from the first day of class. I love the look on my students’ faces when I address each of them by name as the leave on the first day. It’s my way of connecting with them. I don’t care what they learn in the first class, but I must learn their names.

I hope they learn English, since that’s what they’re paying for, but I always anticipate what I’ll learn from them. This semester my students are from Chad, Slovenia, El Salvador, Brazil, Haiti, and Central African Republic. I’m so excited to get to know them and to learn about their countries and cultures. I’ve gotten the most amazing education from my students. If a classroom resembling the UN is not the consummate marketplace of ideas, I don’t know what is. Oral debates are the best. I can’t wait. Too bad the class only lasts 6 weeks.


8 thoughts on “Back in the Classroom

  1. This is so exciting! Please relate anecdotes as they occur in that multinational classroom.

    English is my FL, and my name is Susan.

  2. My library has a group where Spanish speakers learning ESL can practice English. Perhaps you can find something like that when the class is over.

    I loved teachers who learned names! (Well, they never said mine correctly, but still.)

  3. @ Susan

    I’m so excited to relate anecdotes from the classroom. I’m such a dork for getting giddy over this stuff, but I love being in a room with people that are all so different. It’s its on special kind of beauty that too takes my breath away.

    I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’m trying to juggle a ton of stuff at one time with the divorce stuff coming to a head and trying to work enough jobs to continue to feed myself. I’ll try to do better.

    It’s exciting that I’m missed when I’m not being my usual addicted self. And, check back. I must publish my Survivor commentary before the next episode. I haven’t forgotten.

    @ Macarena

    Great idea. Thanks. I’m coming to you too, as soon as I settle down a bit. You’re cranking out facinating stuff faster than I can comment, but I’ll be there.

    I would have pronounced your name correctly. That reminds me–one of my students offered to change his name to make it easier for me to pronounce. NEVER!! I hate for people to change their identity for the sake of lazy Americans. I asked him to pronounce it for me a second time, and I’ll make it my business to get it right every time.

  4. Yes, I was thinking on my way to work today that I was almost certain you, being fluent, could say my name. I can’t even think of a rhyme or syllable in English. “Buena” rhymes, but only if you pronounce that right. It’s like looking in the dictionary when I didn’t know how to spell “subpoena.”

    You hit upon another pet peeve of mine. People used to scrunch up their faces and say, “Do you have a nickname?” Some people just CANNOT say my damn name, and I’m sick of it. So I offer the alternative “Goddess,” but…no takers.

    Meanwhile, Spanish speakers are supposed to pronounce names that are usually Hebrew in origin, or everything but English. I often think about how names would be pronounced in Spanish. My mom once “mis”read “Latonya” as “La Tonta,” which I cherish because that little broad was my middle-school enemy.

  5. You can leave me comments whenever you like. I understand if you feel you’ve missed a conversation, but I get the comments in e-mail and usually respond, no matter how old the posts are. They are hard to find sometimes, though, since Blogger only does Recent Comments for the main page, not for the blog overall.

  6. When I was a student in England, there were several chinese students (well actually, England has a lot of chinese students); they usually assume English names so that everyone (teachers and students)would find it easier to pronounce. I really didn’t mind their ‘thoughtfulness’.

    Lex, it sounds as if you should be paying them to allow you to teach them 🙂

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