…and I’m an alcoholic!”
That was what the scene of the first class looked like. Sitting in a circle in a way to make visible any member of the class who might be inspired to go to sleep without permission, the students all introduced themselves and what their motivations are. “My name is… and I’ve always been interested in language. I’m interested in what the possibilities are for language teaching and learning and I look forward to being able to teach it somewhere around the world in the nearest future.” Of course that’s convenient. A second way to answer the question could have been “My name is… and I’m bored with staring at the cielings in my house, and traveling, that I decided to come back to school and make something with my grey matter.”
That would at least have been honest, if hilarious, but this student wasn’t thinking that mischievously at the time as he sat quietly along with eleven other folks of different ages and convictions from different parts of the world… Taiwan, Mexico, America, China among others, and being introduced to the course that will make their lives miseerable for the next thirteen weeks. One of the other fun requirements of this course is finding someone learning English for the first time and tutoring him/her for at least once a week for three months of the course, and to describe and respond to their tutoring experiences in a weekly online journal posted on Blackboard. Isn’t that interesting? It’s about time to discover what thrill and frustrations there are in teaching, this time a new language, but one that is still new to the target student.
“Hi, my name is… and I’m looking forward to being able to go to St. Louis at least once a week to mentor one or even more refugee students and understand their attempt to learn English for the first time. Thanks for having me.”