The first semester has just ended. The school year is half over. Any progress? Well, I know I’ve learned a lot professionally and personally. Have my students? I hope so. I don’t give assessments in my classes so I have no real way of measuring progress. I hope they’ve learned that English is a way to communicate with the world. Duh?? You say??

A couple of months ago, one student needed a tissue. He asked Teacher Rose for a tissue in Mandarin and she insisted that he ask me in English. He asked me and, of course was given a tissue. A second student who witnessed this expressed his amazement “It works!!” (OK, he actually said this in Mandarin to Teacher Rose.)

I remember back in high school having the opportunity to speak French to someone to communicate with them and I was just fascinated that this was a real language, a real way of talking to people. Have you had this experience? Do you get what I mean?

Hopefully, by me being there, students and seeing English as something real.

Providing real learning opportunities for students is such a trendy thing to do in education that we don’t realize how much what we teach can sometimes disconnect from anything meaningful for our students. This is more and more the case if we’re sticking to using textbooks, pens and paper. technology is one way to enter the new world of student’s reality. If we don’t keep learning, if we don’t keep remembering what it’s like to learn we’re not being the best teacher we can be.

I do hope my students have learned half as much as I have.