Everyone, Stop & Look!



“A 7th grade student came in as I was putting stamps on a letter.
He asked what I was doing & ‘what were the stickers for?’
He honestly had no idea what the purpose of stamps were or how the whole mail process worked?!
ie… stamps are like money, they prove that you pay, takes $ to cover costs of personnel/trucks, etc..
Another self-reminder to always ask questions, determine prior knowledge & don’t presume anything…
not even what you assume to be basic/everyday knowledge…”

“I had a student who was wearing tennis shoes where the fronts were totally ripped open. We have gym everyday so I was worried he was going to hurt himself. I didn’t want to contact the parents and ask them why they didn’t have better shoes for him. I knew why.. they didn’t have any money. So as I have done in the past, I quietly just went and got him a pair of tennis shoes. I gave them to him the next day. He liked them a lot and said they felt good. But the following day he wore his same old shoes?


I felt a little hurt, but I knew it wasn’t all about me… yet I had to ask what happened to the shoes. He said that his parents didn’t want him wearing things he didn’t pay for. I told him… “What if you did pay for them? What  if you worked with me during recess time this week and helped me in the classroom?” He called his parents and they agreed this would be good. They liked that it gave him a ‘work ethic’ to follow. It became a win-win. I got work done. He got shoes. And we all kept our sense of self. But from then on I realized even more so that not all of my families are the same. I have to respect that and find ways to help but also keep their pride intact.”  Monica from New York


“Have you ever been totally wrong about a student? I got a 7th grader this year whom I was apprehensive about. His academic skills are extremely low. He came from a rough school and lives in the housing projects.  He is boisterous and talks about being tough. So yes, I was a little nervous to be working with him and a few other boys in a small room. How crazy might it get? How many detentions might I have to give or calls home? To my great surprise he is…… wonderful! Yes, his skills are very low, but he is an amazingly hard worker who wants to do well 🙂  Every year I have/need in impetus or two to keep going. He, like so many of my other students, inspires me and gave me my boost to work harder/smarter to help all of my students…   Olivia L.

” I showed my students a short video on how to make “Easy French Toast”. They were enthralled. EN-thralled. So, I showed it to them 2x more and said if they made it for their family, took pictures for proof, I would give them extra points toward their total grade. Can’t tell you how many asked me where to buy vanilla in South Korea. 🙂 Of course it followed a lesson in prepositions.” Stacy Lynne in Korea 

“I love all my students because they really enjoy learning English as a
Second Languague and they’re also committed to their learning. I’m so
proud of each one of you… Keep doing your best. Happy studies. And
remember I’m always here in case you need some help. Love y’all.”  Oseias from Brazil

“I’ve been working with a kindergarten student for near 2 weeks on basic numbers. She has not attended pre-K and what’s more, is not getting ‘schooled’ at home at all. She  doesn’t know how to even take school seriously? or make connections if that makes sense? She just prefers to ‘guess’. To simplify learning 1-10 since that was too much, we are only working on the numbers 1 & 2. That was all that she could handle. We play different games where we flip over the 2 number tiles and she has to tell me what each is. She will go from one moment saying the right numbers. Then the next time she might say them wrong/backwards. Then the next time she will say ‘six & three’??? I started to give her stickers for the right answer. But that only worked to a point. So I did what I’ve always been told ‘not’ to do… take the stickers away! But I did.. when she would guess and start saying any number that came to her mind, I took a sticker away. I felt awful. But guess what, the next day, she was ready to add the number 3 to the mix! Who knows, maybe next week she will actually know 1-5 and I won’t have to take any away :-)” Kayla, Ohio  


“I’m proud of students who are so interested in learning the sounds of
English. I teach Brazilian people in the Northeast of Brazil and they have
problems with the TH Voiced and unvoiced, the R, the SH and others. It’s so
good to see them doing their best and getting better in every single
pronunciation lesson. WELL DONE MY GR8 STUDENTS!!”  Oseias from Brazil 

“I love trying to figure out what students know & I connect that information with what they don’t yet know. But sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what a student is trying to convey and in cases like today you get a laugh out of it. A student wanted me to look up pictures on the internet of a “bir (bird) with white chest” so I searched. “No, not that, a bir (bird) with big hands that eat fish.”  “Oh, you mean tallons, I said. I continued looking & coming up with numerous photos of hawks, eagles, buzzards, etc

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.  Again he politely said, “No, that’s not it…that is not it.” As time went he started to raise his voice a little, “No that’s not  it. You know a bir with big hands and white.” I kept entering the description into the search engine, “Gosh I don’t know of a black and white bird..hummm” Finally he said, “You know a big bir that growls..GRRRR!!!” Then I realized he way trying to say “bear!”  I was so used to him dropping the final consonants from his words that I ‘added’ it for him. In the end we looked at ‘Panda bears & talked about China & bamboo. Becky T.

“I had a Chinese student who stayed in her silent period for a full year. One of her other teachers routinely butchered her Chinese name and encouraged her to “pick an American name.” My student, not wanting to offend or correct the teacher, didn’t ever correct him. However, it was when the teacher started calling her “Anne,” that she realized the injustice of his actions. She raised her hand and clearly said, in both Mandarin AND English, “My name is JiaXin.” I was so proud of her for standing up for herself and holding tight to one of the few things she was able to bring with her to America.”  Stacy S.

“Last year, I was able to teach Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I had many ELL students in my class and they were all so grateful to read a book with which they could relate. Students from other countries have more obstacles than taking academic classes in a new language. The discussions we had about learning to navigate a new culture while also maintaining their existing culture was educational for everyone…especially me. Some of them also discussed some of their memories about war that touched them or their family. It was the highlight of our year.” Deana M.

” I haven’t had a newcomer in a while. I almost forgot what an amazing experience it is to have a student with little English. He always speaks to me in Spanish (which is a lot b/c he is very talkative). Even though I often don’t understand, I really try to listen to what he is trying to share. It helps me realize/sympathize with him. In addition to me being his teacher, as it always goes, he is also my teacher. And I’m learning a lot 🙂 Today using his little notebook I gave him with words we have been translating Spanish and English, he went out of his way to say ‘Thank you… I see you next Wednesday’. Got to love it!!” Kelly from Washington

“I think what I love most about teaching is it affords me the privilege of seeing beauty every day. Working with students who test years below grade level, and watching them not only close but exceed those gaps and move on to college is an experience many teachers know, can’t be put qualified in a paycheck and certainly isn’t the result of lazy summer days. Identifying and honing in on a deficit area, and helping the student make that an area of confidence is a ripple effect of effort and expertise.”   Kevin H. Chicago

“Working with kindergarten student to distinguish fur & feathers. She has learning difficulties not related to language acquisition. After MANY attempts w/ books, toys, info in English/Spanish. Found a feather & pelt. Showed them to her. She loved it, shared w/her class. EASILY recalled it the next day!! Sometimes you never know which thing will cement it for them. Just got to keep trying!” Kat L.

“After 4 years of working on writing with a student who on countless days put up road blocks and excuses at every given turn…I come to learn that his end of year story was dedicated to ME??!!  I persevered as did he. Been riding high ALL day!”  Shannon S.

“I put off calling a parent because I thought it would be difficult. More over wouldn’t end up helping anyway. But one day, I quicklywrote down my point, called the number I had, spoke in as simple English as I could. And… I got Mom’s full support!! Homework has been completed (most days-haha) since!  Marie….

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