Lesson 1 – Meet & Greet

I had literacy training for ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages, in the fall last year. By Thanksgiving, I was anxiously awaiting my first assignment. I didn’t know if it would be a  teenager at Walmart, a Buddhist nun from Vietnam or Snoop Dogg.

As a Mom of two college-age girls, I was excited to finally learn my first student would be a 26-year-old college graduate from Spain. So thrilled that I forgot all my training as soon as she walked in the door. I spoke so quickly my husband wouldn’t have understood, “Ohmygosh!Hi!Howareyou.Imsogladwefinallygettomeet.igotyouremail.howaboutifwetalkaboutthatfirstandthenjustgettoknoweachother?!”

Response, “Hello.” (you crazy American. Is this what it’s going to be like?)

Not so quickly realizing the fault in my ways I step back, moving very slowly and let her read my lips.

Exactly.

Now Christina is probably wondering if I’m teaching English or mime.

So, I finally say, “Let’s sit down.” As I point to the chairs.

Better.

We begin to converse and cover the basics:

– where we live

– the members of our families

– if we have pets

– what Christina’s learning goals are

I made it back.

I proudly start to conclude the hour and tell her, “We’re going to get along famously and we will learn a lot from each other.”

She responds with her hour-long smile, “What made you famous?” And “So sorry, I have no lesson for you. What you need me to teach?.”

Needless to say, it took me a little longer to wrap up than I expected.

We did agree to email during the week and meet at the library again the following Thursday.

Christina was SO grateful.

I was grateful I’d come to my senses twice in the evening and had hours of relevant training to understand what I was doing right and wrong.  I promised myself to contain my enthusiasm, talk a little slower than Flash Gordon and not let her wonder if I was a famous white rapper.

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