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Monday, April 16, 2012

Stepping stone: the return of Me

"I feel like myself again...I'm doing things differently this time around. I am a teacher for a reason, it's my passion. This is who I am."

I said this recently in a conversation I've had with both my mom and a good friend of mine. I am happy this is not only a quote but a reality. I am Me again.

6:30pm: "My name is Dara Fulton, Fulton like in Fulton Street. Next time you see this street name, think of me!" But if you don't wanna call me Dara, you can always call me 'Teacher.' There was some laughter and a few students saying "Teacher" when I said, " It's nice to meet all of you." I met my level 4 (high intermediate) ESL class tonight. This is an interesting group. Not only they're eager to learn and improve their English, but many don't live in the area of where our class is held. Some are traveling long distances just to attend class, my class. I'm moved by their determination, it's inspiring. I promise to make this an enjoyable class experience for them. In doing my part of the orientation, I discussed what I expect from the class and what they can expect from me. "There are two things I care most about in this class" I said as I wrote the word 'comfortable' and 'try your best' on the board.

As students looked surprised, with many of them smiling, I continued talking. "One of the things I've learned teaching ESL for almost 8 years now is the importance of feeling comfortable. If you're comfortable, it will make learning English a little easier. Always try your best. I don't care if you get 100% on every test or assignment I give you, as long as you try your best that's all that matters. Teacher is still happy." I noticed a lot of nods, smiles, even hums in agreement. Everyone seemed comfortable in my speech. Soon they will know how genuine I am.

After going over the textbook and general classroom rules, I began administering the BEST Plus test. I'm not a fan of this speaking/listening test for many reasons, but it does help me to see where students are regarding their pronunciation, listening, and speaking skills. Based on the test and observation, the students are definitely at an intermediate level, some higher than others. I look forward to beginning the first lesson tomorrow and helping them in their new language journey. They are a lovely group of men and women. What made my night was something one of my gentleman students said: "I feel comfortable talking to you. I understand your meaning and you're nice. I don't feel nervous. As you say 'try your best' right?" I still smile thinking of his statement and the facial expression he gave along with it. I appreciate his comment very much.

I feel returning back to teaching is not only a way to get back into the profession, but a stepping stone in my quest for personal fulfillment. I'm grateful God has allowed me to take this first step since overcoming surgery. I'm excited to see the two steps He will put behind me. Tonight was definitely a good sign of what's to come.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you Professor :) You're on the right track and it's good to see the "new, improve and determine" you. Welcome back! :)