A snapshot of today: a Saudi Arabian student was peer editing an article with her Chinese classmate, nodding intently. A grinning Colombian was conferencing about grammar with a classmate from Japan. And at a computer, Cho from Korea was writing a response to my Ghanaian former student Harry’s article: “School Far From Family.”
Cho left the following message for Harry, which Harry will receive all the way across the ocean in West Africa:
“Hello, Harry. I have almost same situation with you. I am learning English in the U.S. and I am far away from my family in Korea… so I know your feeling. I am inspired from you because I do not speak English very well, and so far I have not done my best at studying.
I know you have an even more difficult situation than me, however, you work so hard and you are learning. I respect you and I will challenge myself again to achieve my goals.”
And this is why being a teacher in our global world is AWESOME. International, electronically-enhanced coursework weaves together young scholars from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and America into a joyful, lovingly connected, epiphany-filled tapestry of learning that could never have been imagined, let alone possible, a few decades ago!
Since I arrived back in Boston after nine months traveling around the world, I have been teaching English as a Second Language at The Language Company of Boston. In short, I’m teaching ESL at TLC in the USA.
It has been an utter delight to teach these worldly, kind, wonderful adults and young adults, and I have been learning tons… including all the English grammar that my hippie high school failed to teach me.
Now, a major impetus for accepting this job was that TLC encouraged me to do the same Student Life Story Project with these wonderful ESL students as I did a few months ago at Youth Creating Change of Ghana! Side note: If you haven’t already browsed and left comments on the Ghana Student Life Stories, please do. They are a fascinating slice of life of what it’s like to grow up in a peaceful small town in West Africa… and they feature some great photos.
At this point you should be vibrating with so much excitement about the ESL student articles we are writing that your pants may have fallen off. Here’s a teaser of articles you can find at that link:
– Watching “Grey’s Anatomy” in Saudi Arabia
– A shocking family realization in Colombia
– Opening a gallery in Jeddah for female artists
– Playing 20 straight hours of video games in China
– Shooting birds in an Arabian desert
– Being the “Caretaker” of an American football team in Japan
…and many more. See all the ESL student memoir mentor texts here!
Stay tuned, get your comment-leaving muscles in shape, and spread the word! Oh, and if you’re a teacher who wants to dive into this project, too, the full Life Stories Project unit plan is at this link here!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!