In my school we have several ways of recognizing students’ achievements. One of my favorites is “Student of the Month.” “Student of the Month” is a monthly award given to students in each of the curriculum areas, including ESL, and every month, I am tasked to bestow this honor upon one of my students. Normally when the time comes to do so, there’s usually a student who already stands out in my mind, one who I clearly know is deserving of the award.
This particular month was different. When the time came to make my decision, I thought and thought hard about it, reviewing test and homework grades from the previous month and for the first time ever not one student stood out among the others. I decided to put the decision to the students themselves.
I began class by handing each student a sheet of lined paper and I told them to put their names at the top. I explained my dilemma and asked them to make a case for themselves as to why I should choose them to be “Student of the Month.” As usual, I was amused with some of their surprising and honest answers:
I think that I should not be student of the month because there are more intelligent people here in this classroom.
I should be student of the month because I try hard to do all my homework.
I don’t think I should be student of the month because I don’t do anything in this class.
I don’t know if I should be student of the month because you know I have a lot of absences. I don’t know if that counts, but I think I could be because I’m a good girl. I respect you and I do everything you want me to do like homework and whatever. But you really have to see who’s the best student to be “Student of the Month.”
This student wrote his using bullet points:
I should be student of the month because:
– I did all my homework
– I tried hard
– I want my family to be happy
– I never won student of the month before
– I do all my journals on time
– I always listen to my teacher
– I always pass my quizzes and tests
Out of all of my students’ responses, these were the only ones worthy of consideration. In the end, my job was made easier. After reading their answers, I really had no choice. Emre was the clear winner. It was bullet #’s 3 and 4 that solidified my decision. How could I disappoint the young man’s family?
They say that kids say the darndest things and that’s very true. I’m fortunate to have a job that I get to hear, and sometimes read, some of the humorous, honest, and sometimes profound things they say. Stay tuned for more…
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
Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 8