A Lesson from Brave Students

Turkey boat trip
The sunshine of summer has definitely hit the city these days.  With cooler temperatures and almost no humidity, the last half of the month of July was surprisingly enjoyable.

Aside from the weather, life at school has been busy due to an increase of students coming for the summer months in Canada.  The influx gives a fresh and youthful energy to the school, which I always welcome warmly since I enjoy full classes with a great ethnic mix!  As summer pushes on, however, sometimes you see exhaustion set in for both teachers and students.  The hot weather forces everyone’s minds to wander to frolicking in the sun, sitting on a patio, or out with friends.  Our minds move away from textbooks and grammar rules.   Is there anyone to blame, really?

This year, I’ve had the pleasure to work with some amazing students, whose English ability is not always the highest in school, but who have a great attitude towards learning and becoming infused in the Canadian community.  Recently, I was asked to join some of these students at the beach.  They had met some Canadians the week before and we invited to return for another match.  I gladly agreed to join after I explained my love of beach volleyball.

Waiting for the DayThat day at the beach brought sunshine and clear skies.  A slight breeze made the temperature bearable and I was ready for some volleyball action.  I met the students, enjoyed visiting with them without the constraints of four walls, and watched them interact with their newly found Canadian friends.  They seemed genuinely excited to have me there, and I was happy to be asked to join in.

For many moments of the afternoon I remember thinking, “Wow.  I can’t believe how brave these guys are to just go up to complete strangers (in Toronto!) and start socializing.  The exact thing that I promote everyday in class; the suggestion I make to immerse completely into the language outside of class; the advice I shout from the rooftops– they were all doing it!

They were using courage built up from who knows where to really enjoy their limited time here.  The timidness that I sometimes catch in the classroom was dissolved by the sunshine and friendly nature of these Torontonians.

I have kept that feeling of pride as I returned to the classroom now in the second month of summer.  I remember that these students’ very act of landing on Canadian soil with the intention of learning English in and of itself is a truly remarkable feat.  So, if some days I catch my students daydreaming about cold beer or their native food, I have to remember not to give up on them!

EI - Sand Bucket & Shovel

Overall, they will learn to survive in this city one way or another.  It’s my job to show them the tools they can use.  If I can make the tools seem practical and rewarding, then perhaps my students will want to pick them up, take them outside of the classroom, and use them to build a great experience in Canada.

I will miss this unique job when I leave in a few weeks to pursue teaching in the standard school system.  I will miss these students’ stories, goals, and general excitement about experiencing this great country.  Hopefully, as I return to student life, I can pick up my own set of new tools to then use in my own future reality, whatever classroom that may be.

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: reg187

photo credit: JMS2

photo credit: Christopher Lane Photography

One Response to A Lesson from Brave Students
  1. fridge
    August 30, 2017 | 2:59 am

    Hoԝdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a sіmilar one
    and i was just curious if you ցet a lot of spam responses?
    If sօ hoѡ do you prevent it, any plugin or anything уou can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very
    much apρreciated.

Leave a Reply

A Lesson from Brave Students

Turkey boat trip
The sunshine of summer has definitely hit the city these days.  With cooler temperatures and almost no humidity, the last half of the month of July was surprisingly enjoyable.

Aside from the weather, life at school has been busy due to an increase of students coming for the summer months in Canada.  The influx gives a fresh and youthful energy to the school, which I always welcome warmly since I enjoy full classes with a great ethnic mix!  As summer pushes on, however, sometimes you see exhaustion set in for both teachers and students.  The hot weather forces everyone’s minds to wander to frolicking in the sun, sitting on a patio, or out with friends.  Our minds move away from textbooks and grammar rules.   Is there anyone to blame, really?

This year, I’ve had the pleasure to work with some amazing students, whose English ability is not always the highest in school, but who have a great attitude towards learning and becoming infused in the Canadian community.  Recently, I was asked to join some of these students at the beach.  They had met some Canadians the week before and we invited to return for another match.  I gladly agreed to join after I explained my love of beach volleyball.

Waiting for the DayThat day at the beach brought sunshine and clear skies.  A slight breeze made the temperature bearable and I was ready for some volleyball action.  I met the students, enjoyed visiting with them without the constraints of four walls, and watched them interact with their newly found Canadian friends.  They seemed genuinely excited to have me there, and I was happy to be asked to join in.

For many moments of the afternoon I remember thinking, “Wow.  I can’t believe how brave these guys are to just go up to complete strangers (in Toronto!) and start socializing.  The exact thing that I promote everyday in class; the suggestion I make to immerse completely into the language outside of class; the advice I shout from the rooftops– they were all doing it!

They were using courage built up from who knows where to really enjoy their limited time here.  The timidness that I sometimes catch in the classroom was dissolved by the sunshine and friendly nature of these Torontonians.

I have kept that feeling of pride as I returned to the classroom now in the second month of summer.  I remember that these students’ very act of landing on Canadian soil with the intention of learning English in and of itself is a truly remarkable feat.  So, if some days I catch my students daydreaming about cold beer or their native food, I have to remember not to give up on them!

EI - Sand Bucket & Shovel

Overall, they will learn to survive in this city one way or another.  It’s my job to show them the tools they can use.  If I can make the tools seem practical and rewarding, then perhaps my students will want to pick them up, take them outside of the classroom, and use them to build a great experience in Canada.

I will miss this unique job when I leave in a few weeks to pursue teaching in the standard school system.  I will miss these students’ stories, goals, and general excitement about experiencing this great country.  Hopefully, as I return to student life, I can pick up my own set of new tools to then use in my own future reality, whatever classroom that may be.

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: reg187

photo credit: JMS2

photo credit: Christopher Lane Photography

One Response to A Lesson from Brave Students
  1. fridge
    August 30, 2017 | 2:59 am

    Hoԝdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a sіmilar one
    and i was just curious if you ցet a lot of spam responses?
    If sօ hoѡ do you prevent it, any plugin or anything уou can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very
    much apρreciated.

Leave a Reply

Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
Check out my past and current work here: 

Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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