Teaching ESL

15 02 2007

I have one section of ESL this semester. I teach three Korean students who have been entered into regular English classes, so I work with them to provide them help with writing and pronunciation. Each student is in a different grade level: 6th, 7th, and 8th, and it is the 7th grader who is also in my English and Social Studies class everyday.

 Today, the 6th grader was studying for a History quiz about ancient China. He started asking me about Confucius and said he was born in 550 B.C. (He was also trying to tell me he thought I was old by saying I was also born then.) So we got into a brief but hilarious conversation involving all four of us about what “B.C” meant.

I then asked the 7th grader to recall the other term for “B.C” that I taught her in Social Studies class at the beginning of the year. The other term, “B.C.E” stands for “Before the Common Era,” which is a more politically correct and personally preferable term to use since it does not include religious references.

My student began calling out letter combinations trying to remember the right one.

“B.C”

“A.D!”

“A.C!”

“C.A!”

And then the two other joined in, shouting out other combinations, without knowing what they were trying to find the combination to.

“C.D!”

“E.C!”

“A.J!”

“A.J?”

“Yeah! After Jesus!”

When I finally saw the fruitlessness of allowing them to keep guessing, I finally told them, “C.E” to spark my student’s memory.

And then the 6th grader shouts out: “Eagle Christ!”

I couldn’t contain my laugh and it burst out uncontrollably. The 6th grader looked at me and told me he thought I was a witch in my last life. When I asked why, my own 7th grader said, “Because your laugh sounds witchly. It sound witchous.”

That is a good new word. “Witcheous.”

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