Friday, November 06, 2009

The Language Barrier

I am moved to share another Hobo Teaching Tip with you. Bear with me because this is a new one, and I’m still working out the kinks. Here it is: Don’t ever send an open e-mail to the staff and faculty. It is one thing to be crazy. It is another to have everyone know it.

Never did I think we would need such advice until I read my e-mail yesterday. It came from a teacher from my own department, and it had no set-up or anything. She just went right into her thing:
When I am asked why I chose to teach “those” students, I often counter, “Why haven’t you?” For many years, I was angry when asked this question, not only by colleagues, but also by other professionals, friends, and even my own family members. I couldn’t understand why they consider “those” students inferior, unworthy of a quality education. Didn’t they remember their own parents, most from a poor background, encouraging them to always seek the best education?
Who are “those’ students?” Was she calling poor kids “'those' students?” At this school? What was this thing about? Damn these context clues!

It went on:
I am third generation European immigrant; my father’s family was from Hungary. My grandmother came here when she was twelve, speaking no English, but she knew success in America meant an education. In her time, ESL meant going to the first grade.
Oh, okay she’s talking about ESL students (“those students”). And did you hear? She’s a third generation immigrant. She’s quite the Marco Polo, blazing trails into new worlds. Hey my grandfather won a Purple Heart. That must make me a war hero, right? Speaking of family, why is it that her parents and grandparents had a profound affect on her, but other members of her family think ESL students are inferior and unworthy?

She continued:
I have taught "those" students for fifteen years. It can be frustrating, depressing, and downright infuriating. There have been times I have wanted to resign, try a different profession, or start teaching the “star” students.
Let me make a few things clear. As “those” is evidently her word, so is “star.” Being a native English speaking student does not make them a “star.” Trust me. That leads me to another point. We don’t get to choose our students. I teach (as does any other teacher with the proper certification) ESL too. I don’t have a class this year like she does (which is one, by the way) because it was not assigned to me like it has been in the past.

She then opens up about Barack Obama, which I don’t think he would like. President Obama probably doesn’t want her to mix his name in with talk about immigrants and where people were born. That’s one rapid he already navigated during his election.

Anyway, maybe she should change professions like she mentioned. Then, say, her fellow bank tellers can hear about how she chooses “those” customers standing in her line. Or she can send an e-mail about how she chose to cold call “those” names on the list she was given.

Atom XML

My site was nominated for Best Education Blog!
My site was nominated for Best Humor Blog!

[ Recent Posts ]

~Scam Mail

~Personal Attachments

~I Thought Snake Plissken Was Dead


~Sharing is Scaring

~The Hunger Games

~Good Night, Nurse!

~To Share or Not to Share

~Home Field Disadvantage

~I Need a Moment

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. That's our story and we're sticking to it.