Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why I Teach

I have a student in my ESL class, C.  He is from a central american country and has only been in the U.S. since April.  He speaks very little english and I can tell that most of his behavior issues stem from that.  A few days ago we were talking before class with a few of the students and he mentioned that he didn't like english and didn't need it because he would never make it to college anyways.  As a teacher, that is one of those comments you just CRINGE at.  I asked him if he wouldn't mind chatting with me after class.  I ended up having to talk to my mentor teacher right after that so I didn't get a chance to talk to him.

To my surprise a few hours later he came by my other classroom during passing period to talk with me.  I explained to him, as a bilingual myself, that speaking BOTH languages fluently would help him gain a substantial amount more money than if he never learned to speak english.  C told me he didn't really care because his parents had kicked him out, he was living on the street, and he was most likely going to be deported come February anyways.  Besides, he told me, all the english he needed to learn, h e learned in the street.  My heart sank.  I reassured him that no matter WHERE he was living, learning english would help.  He said he would think about it.

This morning, before first period I was getting some things ready in the classroom.  C approached me and in pure english said,
    'Remember the conversation we had.'
    'Of course!' I replied.
    'I am going to try.'
    'GOOD, C!' I almost hugged him, 'That makes me very happy.'
    'I want to learn.'

Today during class he was on the ball, so attentive and really working hard, and it was amazing how HIS attitude affected the rest of the class.  They put out some real quality work today.

C walks by my classroom at least twice a day.  He always stops, shakes my hand and says hello.

This is why I teach.


  1. This makes me so happy!!!! I love hearing teaching stories. I hope that you are having a wonderful time. Glad the computer is fixed, and have a great 3 day weekend! Miss you girl!

  2. Jody, I'm so glad that you have a blog and that you took the time to write this down. It made me smile. It's so perfect it could be in one of those motivational teacher stories books! :D Thanks!

  3. Aren't you glad you decided to student teach in a place as diverse as Houston? =) Loved this.

  4. Jody, You are amazing. That is such a tender story. It is powerful to see the consequences of our actions for good. God had a plan for you in Houston. You are doing great things. xo

  5. That's totally awesome Jody! very intense, congratulations! And you don't even know how many people you will positively affect because of your desire to help this kid.