I have been very challenged lately. I am in a teacher-training placement at a Skills Centre to practice teaching English to adults - 8:30 - 2:30 every tuesday and thursday. I am learning so much I am exhausted for days afterwards. I am still figuring out how this is going to all work out for me - this too is exhausting, and as a result, I am deflated and beat. Not to mention all the Grammar I have to brush up on - subordinate conjunction anyone?
But one thing that does not exhuast me is listening to the student's stories - they are from every corner of the earth it seems - Ethiopia, Congo (Brassaville, not Dem. Repub), Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, a small farming village in Punjab, India and Mumbai, Ecuador, Peru and El Salvador, Korea, Japan, China, Romania, Czech...and they are here for many different reasons and all have different levels of motivation to learn English as a result.
The farmer from the village in Punjab farmed rice and raised Bison, as he called them - large horned cows really. His computer skills were just barely there when I sat with him for an online listening activity - using one finger and not knowing how handy that backspace key was. We laughed about how much computer time our kids have on our home computers - there is no time left for us - I have a laptop however, he does not. He calls himself "Lucky". I wonder what his name was in Punjab amongst the Bison. I wonder if he dreams of rice paddies.
Another woman, the one from Romania, told the class in her beautiful, careful English, that she met her current husband on a cruise in the thousand islands here in Lake Ontario. The curious in the class could not help themselves and had to ask many questions in English. "Where were your parents and family? Was his family there? was it love at first sight as they call it? your family was there, right?
I taught a lesson in Canadian history for one of the classes - these are settlement classes that require Canadian content as well as language - I stepped back afterwards and saw what a MESS the whiteboard was. I write way too big - and it was all over the place - its like seeing your soul on whiteboard.
One of my teacher-trainers asked me to read a few paragraphs for the students to listen to for pronunication.
The student from Peru said my voice sounded like "GPS lady". Another said I sounded like "radio".
I am smiling inside, my face is too tired to smile - need to go to bed... so grateful for the random bits - they are what keep me going - and interestingly, what keep me in the moment and yank me out of the future - which is where I fret lately... I am grateful .