ESOL classes continued:
The previous lesson was as challenging for me as it was for Cristina. We’d touched upon a lot of grammar and spelling challenges. I was excited to follow-up on many of them with visual aids.
I brought a small box for Christina with a few objects inside. The first was the previously indescribable aluminum foil. I showed Cristina its sticker marked ‘foil’. She cracked up and seemed to think it was a good idea. Also inside was two mini collages: a sled and winter sports and beer with indoor pub sports. I felt it was the start of a memorable collection for both of us.
We talked about our week but then Cristina forced a grin that wasn’t her regular smile. When I pursued it, she explained she’d been discouraged earlier in the day by someone in her American family. They’d been impatient with her English and she was frustrated. My heart went out to her. I also didn’t have translatable words for how I wanted her to respond if it happened again. Short story short, I didn’t know what to say. She saw my reaction and didn’t hesitate to remind ME tomorrow was a new day.
I segued to the books I’d also brought. Evidently, it took me this many lessons to remember I resold books. I love children’s classics as much as the turn of the century novels. My favorites and best sellers are vintage Little Golden Books. I brought one of their big cousins though – my colorful Richard Scary Big Golden Book of words. The pages illustrate various city and family scenes. Every picture in the book with its English name. Scenes include grocery shopping, a farm, an airport, family night activities and of course, Richard’s infamous Busy Town. Cristina seemed to appreciate that I had circled and dated all the words we’d learned. On the playground page, we laughed as we pointed to the bubbles from a previous lesson.
The Big Golden was well received so I gave Cristina the other Little Golden Books I’d taken from my booth. I gave her Manners, ABC and a third book that I worried might be too young. I told her she could read it to the kids at the house if it was too easy or she didn’t know who “Barbie” was.
She LOL’d at me and exclaimed, “She is an international sensation! I love it. Perfect.” Barbie’s had so many professions, I’d forgotten she’s traveled the world too.
Cristina mentioned more about her weekend. She’d gone to a club, heard a band and asked if they could play a song she knew. She was proud of her public independent translation. Since she likes to know expressions and how to form questions, I explained she could also ask ‘if they took requests?” She asked me to repeat and then wrote it in her journal.
We also reinforced her verb list. She asked me to read so she could hear the pronunciation. After that, she read the A B C book. I listened and thought learning long vowel sounds and past tense ‘ed’ words would be a good lesson next week.
I wasn’t quite ready to leave and followed up on one of her previous comments about numbers. I started to write figures.
I know you know 1-10, right?
“Yes, to 100. I’m not sure how to read and say them after that.”
We discussed 10’s and 100’s and she knew the spelling and pronunciation of 1st thru 10th. It all seemed easy for her but she asked me to write a big number.
She verbalized it. “When you born though?”
When was I born?
“Yes, write that down.”
August 16, 1966.
“August sixteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-six.”
Almost. I didn’t enjoy being 148 even for a moment so we covered that one twice.
I shared one more thing as I packed up to leave for dinner. She wasn’t familiar with American game shows so I explained my favorite, The Price is Right. I told her one prize this week was a trip – to Grenada, Spain! I’ve been watching that show for probably 40 years and never heard reference to her home city or the Alhambra Palace. It was one more thing to bring us together. I was already looking forward to next week’s challenges.
Copyright Donna L. Crowe