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.