To My ELL Students of the Past and Present
As I’ve talked to all of you before, this is going to be my last year teaching in the ELL Academy. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions over the last 5 years. I have laughed and cried with you all. I do want you to know, you have all taught me so much more than you realize. Here are some of the lessons I have kept in my heart that I have learned from all of you.
Patience. Learning isn’t easy. You have to study, study, study. Like you, I had to study how to be a teacher as I didn’t go to school to be a teacher at first. I was learning that alongside you as you were all learning English. I also learned that building relationships takes time. You have all been through so much and building a connection with all of you taught me to be patient. Once we created that connection, learning became so much easier for all of us. Learning became more fun.
Compassion. I wasn’t very good my first year as a teacher. I had a lot to learn. You didn’t make fun of me or say that I was a bad teacher. You were compassionate to me. When I wasn’t feeling good, you let me know that it’s okay and told me to do the best that I could. I returned the favor to you when you had things going on that were outside your control. I realized that a little compassion goes a long way.
Perseverance. Learning can be very difficult and sometimes we feel like giving up. You didn’t give up. You had so many things going on outside of school that could’ve brought you down and made school harder, but you somehow found a way to keep going. So, you helped me to continue getting up in the morning because you found a way of continuing to come to school despite having so much stacked against you.
Communication is important. Sometimes we couldn’t communicate with each other so we had to find ways to communicate what we needed. We used everything from Google Translate, to pictures, to asking a friend who spoke a similar language or dialect that you spoke. No matter what, we didn’t stop trying to find a way to communicate.
It’s okay to laugh at ourselves. As I said before, learning can be difficult and sometimes we make mistakes and that’s okay. Sometimes we would say words incorrectly and we would all laugh or Mr. Moreno would have his tongue tied up and would say words that didn’t make sense. I would trip over my own feet trying to get to the board quickly to help you spell a word. It’s okay to laugh at ourselves. We are all life-long learners who will continue to make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them and to keep going forward.
I will miss you all. To my students from the past and present, I want you know there will be more ELL students in the future. So, when they come to our school, welcome them and please don’t hesitate to present them to me so they have another teacher they can talk to on this journey in which they will learn all of these lessons we’ve learned together.