I like all the groups that I teach: the little ones, the middle-schoolers, and the adults. I admire the adults the most, however. This venerable group shows up twice a week for their two hour lessons of their own free will. I admit to spending the most time on their lesson plans because I want to ensure that they get something out of the class, and I want them to see how much I respect them for trying to learn something new in adulthood.
There is one student in the adult class, I’ll call her Amalia, who rarely speaks out and has low confidence in her ability, even though more often than not she knows the answer. In the beginning I wondered why Amalia was even in the class if she refused to participate. How much can someone learn if he or she doesn’t participate and just silently takes notes the entire class?
The adults, group F, need as much speaking practice as possible, so I made a game out of basic introductory phrases. The previous class we had gone over introductions like “Hello, my name is___. I am from___. I am ___ years old,” etc. etc. etc. So I made name cards with new names, nationalities, ages, likes, and dislikes. I then put all the name cards in my hat and had the students pick a card from the hat and introduce themselves to the class as that new person. I had fun making the cards, (my personal favorite was Gregory, the one-handed and two year old man from Germany, who likes his grandchildren and dislikes teenagers and stairs) and the students seemed to genuinely enjoy the absurdity of introducing themselves as wildly different people.
Amalia introduced herself as Brad from Brazil, a laid back surfer dude who liked yoga, reggae, and the beach, and who disliked bad vibes, his mom, and responsibilities. After “Brad” introduced himself the class was free to ask him any introductory questions, and someone asked “Brad, what do you do?”
Amalia couldn’t think of a fictional occupation fast enough, so she said “nurse,” to which the whole class laughed. I thought the joke was that Brad, being so lazy, would be a terrible nurse, but it turns out that everyone in the class knows each other, and thus know that Amalia is actually a nurse.
It then made total sense to me why Amalia was taking this adult English class.
Cynics hold that man is essentially morally bankrupt, and only out for self-gain and pleasure. I don’t see any of that in Amalia, group F, or in any of the groups I teach.
3 thoughts on “Group F”
So now you know why she is taking a language class? As a nurse is she trying to communicate with English speaking patients? I hate to say how much sign language and just plain old speaking loud and slow to try to get my point across. I hope you have a card with the name Jennie that teaches English, grows beautiful flowers, plays flute and has red hair. Arthur that builds kitchens, cooks great food and chuckles a lot. And of course Grammy that taught English, eats cookies and likes to take over blogs. Ha.
Side note: adulthood doesn’t mean sitting back and being content with what we learned a million years ago. 😉
Wait—Gregory is two years old and has grandchildren? Oh. One hundred and two year old who has both hands. Typing on that phone causes amusing boo boos. Anyway, I like to think that there is more good in most of humanity than bad also. We just need the right circumstances to bring it out