Next week I start my 10th year teaching English as a Second Language. I’ve had highs and lows; wins and fails. There is no more wholesome profession or lofty calling than trying to give a voice to language minority students who struggle to achieve bilingualism and understand what it is to be bicultural.
As an ESL teacher, I seek to raise up little ambassadors for their heritage languages and cultures. English Language Learners are often underestimated but they are mighty. I have a room full of little Mexican-Americans, Honduran-Americans, Iraqi-Americans, and others who make our world more diverse and lovely just by being themselves. These little ones will go out in the community and build bridges between countries and ethnic groups. How could one not seek compassion for children tasked with something this important and burdensome?
Burdensome also describes prejudicial English-only laws in my home state of Tennessee. ESOL or ESL is a beast sometimes, and I seek to tame it. Bilingual education is off the table for me, so here I seek solutions to offer comprehensible input in my pull-out immersion ESL classroom.
Here I will being writing out and thinking aloud about how best to serve English Language Learners. Comment below or just sit and stew. I’m just digitally thinking aloud as I work toward being a more compassionate teacher.