Friday, September 08, 2006

Real ELLs

Thee last two days I started the process of identifying an testing the new students at my school to see if they are eligible for ESL. Luckily the school secretary is very nice and helpful since I rely on her for a lot of reports and paper work. I am surprised to find that there really weren't very many new students and most of them won't be getting ESL. I guess that most of my population will come from students that have been at the school for a while. I do know of at least three students that enrolled that speak no English at all. One in first grade and two in fifth. I really should know what to do with these students since I *am* the ESL teacher but last year all of my students spoke English. I'm thinking to myself so this is what teaching ESL is all about. I'm excited to start working with these students. I'm now trying to recall all of the lessons that I taught to my English 1 students who didn't speak any English when I taught in Italy. We had to speak only in English for instruction and they learned. By the end of the semester they were getting along in English. Of course they only had to worry about speaking conversational English twice a week. These kids have to learn how to speak English and learn in the content areas AND prepapre for the ELA in just one year (that is craziness).

Today I was coming out of my room and a student asked me if I was the new ESL teacher. I said yes and he said "I'm going to be with you." I asked what grade he was in and he said fifth. I asked if he had met the two new girls who don't speak any English. He said they were in his class. I asked if he was helping them and he smiled really big and said yes. Later when the students were being dismissed I saw him again in line with his class. He came up to me and said "these are the girls" as he pointed one finger on each of them. I said hi to them and then whispered in his ear that it was rude to point. He seems like a sweet kid and very eager to help his new classmates. The girls seem in good spirits. I want to talk to their teacher and see how they are doing in class so far. And then I want to hurry up and get this administrative stuff out of the way so I can start seeing my kids!

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