04 January 2009

more esl

Most of my esl students this year--and most of my class--are boys. They are taking things in stride and just going with the flow. The only story I have them, off the top of my head, was when a new esl student and an old esl student were talking. For some reason, China came up.

L: China is bad country. China cheats. (Assuming this is a reference to the last Olympics, but who knows.)
Y: And and Russia is a bad country, too.
L: (wanting to agree with his new friend, but still enjoying his time in Russia...) Yeah. Too much smoking.

My little esl girl is quite a different story. She is working so hard to figure out the new culture she's in. She wants to understand all the social norms of this "American" school. For example...

One day a student spilt his noodles all over the floor. It was on the part of our floor that isn't carpeted and he was upset. I told him it was okay and we cleaned it up and got him some more noodles.

About two weeks later, Seon Min asked, "Miss C, why K noodles all over the floor and you say 'It's okay.'?"

"Well, it was okay. K was upset. And I wanted him to feel better."

"But why, 'It's okay.'?"

"It was okay. We cleaned it up."

"In Korea, teacher no say, 'It's okay.' noodles all over floor. Teahcer say 'BE MORE CAREFUL!'."

We've had that conversation at least three times.

At conferences, I learned that SM was telling her parents that she didn't understand English. (Yeah, right.) She put on a blank face as they related their concerns. I told SM (who. along with the other esl kids is ready to graduate from esl pull-out to Russian lessons with the rest of her class) "SM, if you are not able to understand me in class, then you will not go to Russian. You will need to keep going to esl." The horrified and caught look on her face clearly showed me how much English she understands. I'm not sure mom and dad understood it, though.

The day after conferences, SM came in and said, "Yesterday..."


"When we talking my mom and day..."

"Yes, at conferences..."

"My mom..."

"Yes..." (thinking Mom had something to say about esl)

"She very beautiful?"

"Yes, SM, your mom is very beautiful."

We were talking about what to wear for the winter concert. I was explaining that the girls needed to wear a dress.SM didn't know what a dress was. I was drawing pictures, using google images, showing traditional Korean dresses...she kept shaking her head no. I started showing skirts. Still no. (My principal came through during this time. Nice.) The next day, she came to school in a jumper.

"SM! That's perfect for the Concert! You can wear that. That is a dress."

Big sigh. "Yeah, but I don't know."

"It is. It will be great. And it's even red!"

"Yeah, but I think we sing on 12."

"No, we will practice on the 12th. (showing calendar) But, we will sing on the 17th."

"No, I think we sing on 12."

"You're right we will sing our song on the 12th at practice. But the concert will be on 17. You will wear you dress on the 17th."

"No. I think 12."

"Why do you think we will sing on the 12th?"

(big sigh) "I growing SO fast."

She was afraid her dress would be too short by the 17th. ;>

On the 17th, we were getting ready for the Winter Concert. All the kids were changing into their dressy clothes. Hands and faces were being washed. I was busy doing all (four of) the girls' hair. SM brought me her beautiful Korean dress (not the red jumper) to be tied. I tied a wonky bow and was re-tying it.

SM: It's okay. It's okay!
Me: No, it was not a nice bow. Let me do a nice one.
SM thinks then says, "Ah! I second grader. You second grade teacher. I look beautiful, all the girls look beautiful, and ALL the moms will say in EVERY language..."Miss C is GOOD teacher."

The next day she told me her mom DID say I was a good teacher. ;>

I hope so! I certainly enjoy my little ones. I thought you might enjoy them, too.


Rachael said...

What little cuties. I can picture it so well from your writing!

How is Tallinn?

Kay B said...

kate, you have such a great spirit to teach, lots of patience and love for these little ones. Thanks for the cute story!

sandy said...

What sweet stories about your students... I thoroughly enjoyed your post.

Lea said...

That is so cute. Thanks for sharing and welcome back. Hope you had a nice get away.

Annie said...

How adorable! This all made me smile - broadly.