I decided to change it up and take a look into myself, my teaching abilities, as well as my strengths. It’s good to take a step back, self-evaluate, and give yourself the credit you deserve sometimes. So many people in this world are so negative and will try to talk you down, but you have to remember who you are, where you are, what you are, and where you want to be. So Michael Scott asks, “Why are you the way that you are?”
I really enjoy working with ELL students and learning from them about their unique and diverse cultures. They are so young but have already experienced so much, which gives them different worldly concerns that most of us don’t necessarily think about. Like the fact that some of our students don’t know what a bath tub is or their parents don’t bake anything. Some students fear returning to their home country from a harsh and strict living situation. Some students from an African heritage practically run their families; they become independent at a very young age and are responsible for themselves and their siblings. Once you’ve established a relationship with these individuals and built up their confidence in English, you start to hear more and more about their day-to-day lives either back in their native country or their American home life. It’s such an eye-opening experience for all of us.
I love how different my role can be as a teacher of English as a second language. Some days we are working with flash cards and manipulatives, phonics word work, matching pictures to text or definitions to text, reading and writing responses, and even inquiry topics. Depending on the student(s) abilities and understanding of content areas varies how much we can actually do which allows for more individualized lesson plans and more enriching experiences for learning. We are doing so much in just 30 minutes, but it’s extremely conducive to learning.
I’m currently in a role where I’m pulling 10-11 small groups a day to work in 30 minute increments on speaking, reading, writing, and listening in English. I’m working with first through fourth grade at the moment with various skill levels. Some students are just getting settled into America and the school; whereas some students have been here anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Each group is very different and working on something completely different.
Each group is pieced together based off everyone’s abilities. Sometimes I have third graders working with second graders. Sometimes you have students that just lack the maturity to focus and move forward, due to their age or refugee status, so they get bumped down to a group that better fits their needs. Maybe a beginner is moving and learning so quickly that they need to be placed in a more challenging group. Nothing is set in stone because everything I do is completely based on what each child knows and can comfortably do. It’s what is necessary for their learning and for my teaching. I do what I love and I love what I do!