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Comments

Joel

When I came over from Korea, my name was Kim, but my parents changed it to Joel. Anyhoo, I've been reading your blog for a bit and I've enjoyed the postings.

I can't say I can relate to the ESL challenge. I was three when I came to America and didn't have to deal with it. At the school where I teach, I have one minority student and there isn't an esl (efl) student in the entire district. I do have kids with IEPs though and tailoring lessons to fit their needs has been tough. At least your two ESL students are motivated right?

Sara

I'm in my first year of teaching; I'm teaching Sophomore English. I'd be super interested is seeing what kinds of lessons you cooked up for The Odyssey. We've already finished it this year, but I'm desperate to see how others do it. (We're finishing Of Mice and Men and we're moving on to A Separate Peace soon.)
Let me know -- I'll understand if you are too busy to pass anything on. Good luck with your class; I'm at a public school with private school aspirations.

Rachel

I just randomly found this blog, and it's become one of my favorites. I recently created my own blog--and when I say recently, I mean tonight--and I'd like for you to post my link! I'm a second year teacher who is looking to share her experiences with other teachers (and non teachers if they're interested). Thanks and keep blogging! :)

cbh

getting new students in the middle of the year is difficult enough, but two?? and they don't speak English?? yikes! its the daily challenges in the teaching profession that make our jobs entertaining right?!?

Ryan

One thing to keep in mind is that many Asian cultures value academic performance highly, and they often times won't turn in work because they fear that if they are wrong it will bring them "shame." THis could be something you're dealing with.

Taylurk

It's way rough not living in your mother country, especially when you don't speak the language. Luckily in Norway most everyone between the ages of 16 and 60 understand english. But man oh man.... if I came to live here and they told me that from here on out I had to be called Bente?? I'd have a tough time dealing.

Hang in there with the Koreans. It'll get easier with time!!

Edna Lee

I feel your pain, but to a much lesser degree I am happy to say (sorry about that). I teach elementary school in So. Cal. and most of my students are non-english speaking. We have no fewer than 87 languages spoken by students at my school. I'm prepared for that, though. I would not be prepared to lead them through a novel. For that, I tip my hat to you.

I've very much enjoyed your postings. -Edna

Lara

Hey I loved reading what you had to say. I think that we need more teacher like you--teachers that look at each student as an idividual rather that as a mass that should be at the same learning level! keep up the good work!

Proald

Je tente d'amèliorer mon anglais, mais ce n'est pas gagné.
I hope to improve my English.
;-)

NYC Educator

Hmmm...I'd go with teaching them English before teaching them novels. If I were one of those kids, I'd find the book in Korean and try to discuss it in English.

The bottom line, to me, is if your school doesn't offer real ESL instruction on a daily basis, it has no business enrolling these kids. They're lucky to have a teacher with a heart, like you, but they really ought to have their situation addressed in a regular class, intensely, and every day.

Ms. Jhee

I recently found your blog and I have been reading your very enjoyable archives. I noticed the Korean renaming in grad school. We had a large Korean population enrolled in the MBA program and one of them was in my statistics class. Our professor was 100% NY American, rather oafish, and pronounced "error" as "auror" (you know like the evil wizard catchers in Harry Potter?). The Korean gentleman became exasperated with him and asked him to use an Anglicized name instead.

As for the student who doesn't want to show you any work that is flawed that is a cultural artifact. Perhaps you could have a discussion with him about how in our education system assessments are used by teachers to help them meet student needs and not to judge them (most of the time)?

Tracy

I work at a private elementary school and we have a number of Korean students who come for the school year and stay with host families. These are 4th, 5th and 6th graders. After our school day, they go to a tutor for 90 minutes three times a week to help with English and homework. We had our district Math Olympics last week and our Korean students won 4th grade computation, 5th grade computation, and 6th grade reasoning. I've found them to be hard workers and very academic oriented. They are very good at memorizing information. One of our Korean students went to our district Spelling Bee, she didn't win but just by being there she challenged our native-born English speakers.

CC

Yep, that would be really hard! My students are still in elementary school and a huge portion of the school is ESL so it isn't AS hard as it must be for yours! As a BTW... my kids were born in Korea and even though they now legally have American 1st names, we STILL call them by their Korean names!

Jenna

When our district purchased new textbooks several years ago, we recieved a couple of ESL help-books. They're basically very simplified versions of the text in English. You might have some lurking somewhere...

Or you can try the local public library for a Korean verion of the Odyssey. I find that side-by-side versions work well for those who really want to learn.

Catalin

Something I learned about Korean culture (and it also may be true in some other countries) is that students do not ask questions because that would imply that the teacher isn't doing a good job. Therefore, a student's poor performance (like on a test) does not only reflect badly on him/her, but it also reflects on the teacher. So your student may be protecting your "face" as well as his own by not showing you his test.

Would it be possible to have a conversation with the students and their parents about what their expectations are? Maybe with an interpreter if necessary? I once had a student who had just come from Korea and spoke little English, but her mom was an English teacher at home and they were in the US for one or two years while the mom did some advanced studies. They had very realistic ideas about how difficult it would be for the the daughter in a "regular" English class, but that is what they wanted. If your students are here only for a year or two, the main thing for them is to learn English, esp. oral English, and the grades and assignments may not matter as much as the exposure to the language (especially oral).

Re: the names. Why not ask them privately about their Korean names, ask for their help in pronouncing them correctly and ask if they'd like you to use those names? Assuming a new name, though, can be a way of creating an additional identity as you immerse yourself in a new culture; it doesn't necessarily mean losing your old identity. When I've lived overseas, I've had a local name or a localized pronunciation of my name, and it didn't make me feel like I had given up my old (real) name.

K

I'm getting my masters to teach, and have been reading your blog- its great! I've started my own, and would love anyone who reads this to go on over there and feel free to give me some advice.

I have not gotten any advice in my classes yet on how to handle ESL students. I think there's a fine balance of treating them like equals and realizing that academically they are not at the same level in this language. For social studies in high school I'm not sure what I would do because its not like I can give them a different text to read. Hopefully the school will have resources to help me out, but what how much does the school help with ESL students?

Jennifer

I am an ESL teacher. I teach 5th and 6th grade and I understand how hard it is for newcomers to keep up with their class and how hard it for teachers to modify. I highly recommed getting the DK classic version of the Odyssey. When I was a classroom teacher, we used it in 3rd grade. Then have one of your students make a sound recording of the book, so your ESL students can listen to the book and track the print. Also have them make an Odyssey dictionary of interesting vocabulary from the book. They can write their own definitions in Korean or draw a picture. That way they can still take part in some discussion of the book. Good luck.

melissa

Hi! I came across your blog tonight and was very interested with your situation. I am a middle school ESL teacher in NY. I have new students coming into my classroom throughout the year (in fact I received a nw student into my 8th grade class today, she speaks NO English)so I can understand the challenges you are speaking of.

I would suggest a few things. First determine the students reading level. What books can they read and comprehend. It is important that they can comprehend the words that they are reading.

Next I would find those level books for those two students to read. The same skills that you are teaching your other students you can teach your two Korean students, just using a different text.

Another thing you can do that will help these students is conferring. During independent reading talk with them about what is going on in their books. Clarify that they know what skills to practice.

I also read that you are going to be teaching poetry. I just finished my poetry unit and post a few blogs about it. If you want some of the lessons, let me know.

Hopefully some of these things will help you, keep up the good work!

Check out my blog. www.esl-melissa.blogspot.com

melissa


Hi! I came across your blog tonight and was very interested with your situation. I am a middle school ESL teacher in NY. I have new students coming into my classroom throughout the year (in fact I received a nw student into my 8th grade class today, she speaks NO English)so I can understand the challenges you are speaking of.

I would suggest a few things. First determine the students reading level. What books can they read and comprehend. It is important that they can comprehend the words that they are reading.

Next I would find those level books for those two students to read. The same skills that you are teaching your other students you can teach your two Korean students, just using a different text.

Another thing you can do that will help these students is conferring. During independent reading talk with them about what is going on in their books. Clarify that they know what skills to practice.

I also read that you are going to be teaching poetry. I just finished my poetry unit and post a few blogs about it. If you want some of the lessons, let me know.

Hopefully some of these things will help you, keep up the good work!

Check out my blog. www.esl-melissa.blogspot.com

SpencerKent

Hello, my name is Spencer. I'm a fan of your blog and thought you
would be interested in this piece on Huffington
Post about the resistance from teachers in the Holocaust, and the disservice done to their legacy buy Ben Stein's new intelligent design flick.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/creationist-movie-expelle_b_98000.html
Paul Abrams: Creationist Movie Expelled with Ben Stein: A Blasphemy to
Nazi-Resister Teachers.

Enjoy!

Thanks,
Spencer

EDU

ESL must take into consideration more than Language barriers, Cultural differences. Inspiring to read Teachers are getting new students up to speed regardless of challenges. Great help - Thank You!

EDin08

Dear HipTeacher Blogger,

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Alex
ED In '08 Blogger Summit

--------------------------------

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blogforgood

Hello,

I thought your post was very interesting. I think it is so important for our kids to be educated about other cultures - it opens their minds to other people, other cultures, traditions and values.

I came across this really great site, www.givepeacenow.org, where a charity is raising funds to send teachers abroad. The idea is that by sending US teachers abroad to co-teach in local schools, they will bring back that experience to their own classrooms, spreading compassion and greater understanding of people and cultures worldwide. They believe that peace begins in the classroom....what do you think? I would encourage everyone to visit the site and see what this group is doing!

www.givepeacenow.org

Taisha

It's really sweet to see how much you care about helping these students. I think you are doing the right thing. Keep up the good work even when it gets a little frustrating.

Susan

Hi,

Oxford University Press and Cambridge Press both publish classics for ESL students. They are the same books other students are reading, but written at an easier level. Usually I hate this type of thing, but both publishers did a really nice job. Cambridge also has an online reading level assessment so you know which ones to buy.

The rule of thumb I use is if students have to look up more than 10 words on a page, it is too difficult!

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