This week I was approached by a concerned mother. We are in the second week of school. Her daughter is in my class. She explained to me that her daughter is now learning in her fourth language. Her mother tongue is Ukrainian, last year she was educated at a Korean school, and she has met and learned to communicate with several friends in Russian. Now, she tackles English.
Last week I started teaching at my fourth international school in five years. I know, the resume is not looking so hot. But I will say that it is a privilege (though also super inconvenient) to teach multiple grade levels and work in many completely different work environments in such a short amount of time.
My first two years I worked at a school where 99 percent of my classes were Korean-Americans. My third year I had my tiny beautiful class of two Ethiopians, a Kenyan, two Korean-Americans, and one half British/half Korean. Last year, I taught a class full of Koreans who could read and write almost better than I could by the end of Kindergarten.
This year. This year is different from all of the others. This year I have 18 students. The largest class I have ever taught (I can almost hear the gasps from the public school teachers in the States who have to deal with twice that number of students…my answer to you is to teach abroad!) and the most diverse. My class is truly, international.
I don’t actually have a majority race amongst my students. There are Japanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, and Korean-American students. And of course my Ukrainian girl. My Malaysian student’s mother-tongue is actually Dutch and my Vietnamese students speak fluent Korean.
When they decided to shift from using the term ESL (English as a Second Language) to ELL (English Language Learners) I am now fully realizing why.
It is going to be a wonderful year.
The first two weeks of school The last month of work has been an insane whirl-wind. But I promise summer photos to come! I was able to travel to Europe and back the States during my break.
This life. So blessed.