Thursday, March 8, 2012


When I think of quitting my job, I think of my favorite students— Keyong, Soon, Gloria and Sang. They're so much fun, but they really need to be getting along. They've already graduated from my class but are sticking around, because, truthfully, they fear they can't make it on their own. 
(Keyong, left, Soon, below with Bogdan)

They view the native born English speaker as an alien creature, one that has no interest in them, in fact, looks right through them when they pass by. My students once had hopes of learning English, but after years of living here, have grown disillusioned. Yet, somehow, they landed in my classroom. 

In the last year, I've learned of their sacrifices as immigrants— the jobs they've taken on to survive, the loneliness of not being part of this society. They've slowly opened up as they've peeled back the layers of their disappointment. Gloria, the shy one, is beginning to talk; Keyong, the troublemaker, has become serious about pronouncing her "f's" and "z's," sounds that have resulted in misunderstandings and strange looks. 


The difficulty of leaving this job is that my students are such a responsive audience. Tonight, when we were studying the future "real" conditional, I told them the story of Aunt Ruth: Aunt Ruth, who was short and round, went on a diet motivated solely by the $10,000 my father offered if she could loose 10 pounds. Every day she went to Erhlers for lunch, ordering a two-scoop ice-cream cone, but instead of losing ten pounds she gained it. My students wanted to know if there really was such a thing as an American ice-cream diet and I told them yes. They laughed appreciatively, and for a moment I wavered in my resolve to quit my job. Regardless, they need to go. As I need to go on. In that way, we're not so different, my students and I. 



  1. This job has had its frustrations but also real poetry and beauty and love... i feel you have it for your students and they for you. You will take this experience on into your next adventure!

    1. Thanks friend, I will remember these words. Adventure is such a good word!

  2. Another beautiful post about your work and students - hope you'll do another before you go. It's so clear you're a gifted and skilled teacher. Now, about that American ice-cream diet ...

  3. Poor Aunt Ruth, she never did lose 10 pounds.

    Thanks Melissa, I will definitely do another one before I go....