One day a week I teach an adult ESL class as a grant program at our school. I was presented with the opportunity about a month ago and tonight was my first time alone. At first I wasn't sure how well I was going to do. One, I'm used to teaching high school students and second, I'm used to teaching Spanish not English.
The reason I wanted to start doing this is because I have helped with my church before and loved it! We would teach English by reading the bible. I knew I wouldn't be using a bible this time so I tried to think of different resources that I would use to help these adults learn to speak English. I started with an introduction of who they were. This helps them learn basic words used everyday plus it helps me get to know them a little bit better. First they answer the questions about themselves and then they read it out loud to me.
This went really well, but the best part of the night was just talking. I talked to them in English and had them speak back to me in English. Some of them do great and others are still struggling with simple words, but that's why I'm here, right??? Once the conversation started, it lasted for almost thirty minutes! We mostly talked about our jobs and families but they were talking in almost all English.
I started to reflect on my own classroom and how I was basically trying to do the same thing, but in Spanish. But, there was a problem. I was getting some great responses from these adults but couldn't get the same kind of responses from my students. This definitely proved a point that I was tying to overlook. I have been trying to teach my students Spanish but just by having them memorize vocabulary. I have just proved to myself that, obviously, that doesn't work. I need more conversation in my classroom. I wish it wasn't already so late in the year but I'm making a commitment for next year to be my best year yet.
I want to be able to see my students really GROW in their Spanish from year to year. As a Spanish teacher, we don't really have to prove to anyone or a test that we are good teachers. I thought I was doing OK at least but I now feel like I have really failed my kids. I want to prove to MYSELF that I am doing what is best for my students!
I love teaching Spanish and I know I will be doing it for a while. I'm excited about starting research for my new journey next year but I feel bad for the students I have had for the past five years. I know I can't doing anything about that now, but I can help my future Spanish students!
I can already tell I'm going to have a very busy Spring Break because I already have ideas running through my head. It's crazy how all of this came to be just by teaching an adult ESL class...
I found this quote and I'm going to try to live by it not only in my teaching, but in my life in general!
Lots of love, a teacher and her pup