Tuesday, March 1, 2011

my ESL students

For anyone just tuning in, I teach English. Not a high school English (Lit) course. English as a Second Language. And I teach adults. My students are all from Mexico or El Salvador, and I adore them. Take today for an example. This is a normal day in my class:

Jaime showed up first and helped me move the desks and take down the chairs. He always helps. He asked how I was feeling since I had to cancel class 2 days last week after hurting my back (I stupidly lifted a bin of water knowing full well it was way too heavy for me). I told him what had happened, and we talked a bit about my injury. Jaime is a Karate Master and is very knowledgeable about the body, injuries, and physical well being. When I mentioned that my chiropractor said I had a rib slightly out of place, he (very respectfully--everything Jaime does is so respectful) asked if he could touch my back. He pushed around a bit and pointed out the rib that was out. The same rib my chiropractor pointed out. We then had a nice discussion about vertabrae injuries. (I understood most of it...my medical Spanish skills could use some work.)

As class started, Sara came to the front of the class and snuck me a plastic bag from behind her back. "Que es?" "Pupusas para ti." She made pupusas and brought some just for me. She knows I like them. I ate one on the way home.


Last week we were practicing forming questions. The students could form any type of question they wanted and then address their question to the entire class or a specific person. The last student to ask his question directed it at me. "What would you like for your birthday?" I was stumped. I seriously could not think of anything. Finally, I said, "I would like plants for my birthday." Sara and Ernestina showed up today with two (large) hydrangea plants for me "for my birthday" even though they know my birthday is in October. No joke. They are beautiful.

Ship, Sheep, Cheap?

During our discussion of modes of transportation, we got off on a typical tangent. The mention of the word "ship" sent us spiraling off into the phonetic nuances of ship, sheep, cheap, chip, cheese, chief, and chef. Which somehow ended up with us all laughing and saying "Whiskeeey!" (The Spanish equivalent of saying "cheeeeese" when someone takes your picture.)

My students are some of the most thoughtful, most respectful, most amable people I have ever met. They are forever doing nice things for me, teaching me things, and helping each other out. Because of them I think more about others and have more desire to do little acts of kindness. I'm grateful I get to spend time with them.


Kerri said...

Isn't there such beauty, tenderness, and gentleness in other cultures? They really have kept the sincerity and humanity of neighborly kindness. Not to mention that you are incredible and deserve every moment of kindness they give you. You give others a great deal of respect as it is, so naturally they will reciprocate.

Amy Carter said...

that sounds like such a great group of people. i hope you get to continue working there at least one night a week.

Jenni said...

That's awesome! It's nice to like your job.

Ashley said...

You better not let Jaime touch your pupusas, no matter how respectful he is.

Molly said...

HA! Ashley--you crack me up!

Ashley C. said...

I love your class for you!