Every once in awhile, I like to share some of my happiest moments as a teacher, the times when I’m interacting in some way with my students. In an earlier piece I discussed the use of journaling in an ESL class. Aside from being a useful tool for teaching English to speakers of other languages, the practice can be amusing for the teacher. Towards the end of the year, my class puts together a magazine, a portfolio of sorts, and we always start by revisiting ideas taken from the journals they’d been writing in all year. Going through them, I was reminded by how entertaining some of their answers can be, and I thought I’d share some of them here.
Throughout the school year, I pose questions to my students for them to answer in their journal. Sometimes the questions are related to something we’ve been working on in class, while others are just posed to get their thought processes juices flowing (in English). As they say, kids say the darndest things…and my students are no exception…
Here are some of my queries and some of their witty, profound and sometimes comical responses:
Question:What do you think is the most important: being smart, being strong, or being good looking? Explain.
All of the above because I want to be smart, go to college and have a great job. Also, I need to be strong because if you have a job like building houses, you need to carry wood. The last one is being good looking because you need to find a pretty girl for you and maybe get married.
Question: If you could trade places with another person, who would you trade places with? What would that be like?
I would trade places with a poor kid. I want to know, or feel, how hard their life is….if it’s hard, sad, or easy. I want to trade places with that person because I know I have a family, food, and money and I want to feel how this person suffers. I would go hungry for a day, with no food, money, a family or a place to stay…just on the street. After I’m done being this person for a day, I would know how to share and how to care for poor people instead of teasing them.
Question: What’s your happiest memory? Explain.
The happiest memory I have was when I was five years old. My mom bought me a bike for my birthday and other members of my family gave me good gifts, just toys and no clothes. I don’t like when I get clothes for my birthday!
My happiest memories are when my little brother was born and when I first learned to speak English. I was happy when my little brother was born because I got someone to play with. I have an older brother, but I don’t like him. I was happy when I learned English because I get to talk to people. When I was in elementary school, I didn’t know any English and my grades were low. When I got to junior high,, I started to speak more English and I made lots of friends and my grades started to go up. (Thanks Mr. Myers!)
For more, please see:
Journal Writing for ESL Students
Journal Prompts for ESL Students
To read more in this series, check out:
Out of the Mouths of Babes: The Voices of Immigrant Children, Part 1
Out of the Mouths of Babes: The Voices of Immigrant Children, Part 2
Out of the Mouths of Babes: The Voices of Immigrant Children, Part 3
Out of the Mouths of Babes: The Voices of Immigrant Children, Part 4
Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 5: The Voices of Haitian Immigrant Children
Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 6: First Crush
Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 7