Many teachers are finding themselves today with long-term ELLs, or newcomers, or SIFE students (students with interrupted formal education) in their classrooms. It can be overwhelming, especially in this climate, but it can also be exhilarating.
I am a wife, mother, and ESL teacher learning every day how to do all those things better. I teach in NYC at an elementary school where usually all or most of my students are in the beginning stages of learning English and learning how to learn in English; sometimes it feels like many of them jump off the plane and come straight to my room! I love working with immigrant children and being their ambassador to this new language, new city, new country. I love expanding my own sense of the world, children, and myself, from knowing them and learning from them. Being a teacher has changed me more than any other “job” I have ever had before.
As a new mother, I’m also learning how to raise my child in a bilingual environment that celebrates our home’s main two languages and cultures. This blog is where my two lives collide — where life, learning, and love grow.
As someone who has been writing either personally or professionally for more than a decade, I always find myself returning to it; it’s how I make sense of myself and my world. I have always sought new ways to connect with colleagues, whether they be in the room next to mine, or teaching English as a Foreign Language in Turkey. Now that I’m entering my fifth year as a teacher, I’m at a place in my career where I want to more systematically help other teachers who may have little training in ESL and/or little time to research it by cataloging my experiences, in a sense. Open my classroom to you as a living laboratory of sorts (although with measures taken to insure the privacy of my students and school). To me, ESL is about more than learning and applying strategies to help students understand the lesson; it is an approach and new way of me understanding my students, as well as the world around me. Because, as they enter my room, they bring their world with them. Being a teacher is a multi-layered job and ESL adds another refreshing flavor to the mix.
If you love to teach for its challenges, not despite them, or if you are a parent raising a child learning more than one language, then this is the place for you!
And, of course, if you are a teacher or parent, then you understand all too well the title of this blog!