Have you ever been immersed into a new and unfamiliar culture and language? I never had an experience in which I have felt so out of place and lost and I'm not sure how I would handle not knowing any of the language in which I'm surrounded by.
Last Wednesday, I had a new student from Haiti that joined my class and spoke only French. As a teacher with 5 other ELL students, I knew that this would be a challenge but all my other students had come into my class knowing at least some English. When I told my students, they all said, "We are so lucky Mrs. Sloan, we always get new students!" I must admit I was nervous about what I would do knowing that I don't speak any French!
So, I knew that he would feel afraid and uncomfortable for a while, especially coming from such a demolished area, trying to grasp at what he could. What I didn't know is that in only 5 days, he is now saying greetings to classmates as well as asking partial questions about things that he wants. He is also laughing at my jokes, (which I must admit are silly but funny) and is modeling some of what my students are showing him as good behaviors.
Most teachers would see this as an overwhelming task, as did I at first, but I also new it would be a great chance for me to grow and learn about myself as a teacher and how wonderful and helpful my students really are. I can truly learn from reflection about myself, but also seeing how courageous and fearless children can be.
My something wonderful for today is that I feel so proud when I see my students truly becoming great citizens, not judging or showing any type of prejudice toward someone who is different. Also, my new student is teaching me about how there are endless opportunities that surround you and everyone should take on challenges and try your best!