Teaching English as a Second Language:Part 1

There is a first time for everything right. Learning how to walk, trying the “real-good” cheeseburger right down the street where the new restaurant opened, or even traveling on a plane! For me, July 29th, 2015, was the first time I became a teacher for orphan children wanting to learn the English language. For the first time, I was in complete control of how I ran the classroom on the virtual communication system.

Days before the first session, I told myself, “How hard could it possibly be?”. After all, I spoke fluent English, and I just needed to somehow communicate simple conversational phrases to the high school students.

I was completely wrong. I contacted my manager, and we started the session promptly at 7:00 a.m. with a few technical difficulties/malfunctions. I logged into my instructor page and connected the Google video chat. I was faced with two orphan girls who looked apprehensive yet excited.

At first, I attempted to introduce myself with a big smile and said my name, age, where I live, and where I go to school. Both girls looked back at me, confused and nervous. Maybe they didn’t hear me? I tried repeating my introduction. Still the same look on their faces.

At this point, I was turning beet red. I was embarrassed because no matter what I said, whatever the word or sentence, was not understood by them. I thought the 45 minutes would never end.

“Was I talking to fast?” I quickly thought to myself amidst the confusion. I tried saying, “What’s your name?How are you doing?” to one of the girls very slowly and finally, got a response. “Kaminey”, she responded. It was a big relief, and I had fewer butterflies in my stomach. I continued with, “What is your favorite sport?”. A brief pause, but no answer was heard from her. I realized she did not know what favorite meant. Instead, I rephrased the sentence to “What sport do you like?”. “I like to play badminton” she claimed.

My manager said it was time to wrap it up, and I said bye to the two girls. As I closed the session and waited to reflect about the experience with my manager, many thoughts ran through my head. In 45 minutes, I had only told them my name and age and only learned both of their names and the sport they liked the most. This pace was definitely not going to be helpful in the long run. Was I even fit for this position? Did I have what it took to help these orphan children reach their dreams of becoming a doctor or even a teacher in the future?

 

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