Donnerstag, 11. Juli 2013

this teaching anniversary

I've learned so much. I've loved my students.  They're all so different.
Last night, however, I was challenged in a whole new way. I was reviewing time telling with my beginners and found myself at the crux of uplifting and demolishing a student's desire to learn English. The student was paralyzed and I typically enlist the help of other students in that situation. "Can anybody help?" But last night I was so sure that he just needed to try. "It's the same as in German really." He starred at me like a rabbit in headlights. it was like a horrible game of chicken and I had to fight with myself to finally offer the normal invitation to the other students. In those moments before relenting to my better judgement, I had an inner-debate with myself. The thought "is this the moment that students have when they're turned off of language learning forever? " I instantly switched to an alternative activity and as I went 'round the room to check on progress, I squatted next to the rabbit and told him (in a Swiss German whisper) "when I learned German, my husband would forget himself and use the Swiss German words for time telling. I didn't realize that 'viertel ab' was the same we 'viertel nach.' I was half an hour early for everything for a year." He asked how long I'd been learning the language and I told him. "But it was only with and practice." It's true of course. But almost as essential as practice is humility and patience. I need to remember both of those skills when teaching as well, though.

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