Dear New ESL Teacher,
I know that you are counting the remaining days of summer and moving in a flurry to prepare for the school year. You have been quite preoccupied with the things around your classroom or office. As if the perfect location for that file cabinet would save you. I also imagine you pausing before the school supplies in Target, “Perhaps if I just had one more….”
But one more flare pen and the perfect office organization won’t save you. The first day of school will hit you like a whirlwind.
“ESL teacher to the front office, please.”
“But wait - I wasn’t expecting them! Not now, I must…”
And they will be there, blinking up at you: the hope of the world placed on your shoulders.
“How do I register for class?”
“What grade should I be in?”
“Will the bus come to get me?”
You may or may not know the answer to these questions. It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t. You represent that there is someone in their court in this new land. Somehow who knows how to navigate both worlds? Someone’s whose brain will ding like an alarm at the lunch hour, when you realize: “I forgot to ask them if they have lunch money! How are they even going to order lunch!” Then you will rush down to the cafeteria and see them snacking happily with a new friend.
At that moment you will realize that you signed up to be an ESL teacher, but you are going to be so much more than that….and therein lies the beauty and the challenge. I must admit that I am a little jealous of you. I miss those awkward bowl cuts, bopping through the halls, delighted when they set eyes upon you. Enjoy them and their devotion, they will always remember you, and you them.
Best of luck,
I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from amazing heroes in education - in Texas, Honduras, California, and all over the United States!