Saturday, January 15, 2011

Teaching is Learning

As I figure out what I’m going to do with my English major, I can’t help but feel like Harry Potter did on his first day at Hogwarts. (I apologize for the multiple Sorcerer’s Stone references in back-to-back posts.) Who hasn’t felt as Harry did after hearing the Sorting Hat’s song, that he didn’t have any of the school’s lauded qualities? For me, I wonder what job I could possibly belong in.

Recently I came to a conclusion that might help me figure that out, a conclusion I have been avoiding for years:

I like teaching.

Yeah, yeah, I know, mom and dad. You could have told me forever ago.

Yesterday was my first ESL teaching experience, and for my beginner reading class, I designed a 45-minute lesson on the topic of orchestral music (okay, you can all stop rolling your eyes now). My students are volunteers, mostly retirees who want to learn English and stay sharp. I was jittery all morning, but once I got in front of the class and started explaining the day’s topic, I started to enjoy myself.

My students ate up my talk of bassoons and symphonies and Mozart’s twenty children. I, in turn, was energized by their obvious enthusiasm and eagerness to please:

Bubbly Andrés and his happy smile when he told me that he, too, liked classical music; struggling Nati telling me how she thought modern music could be beautiful; Isabel’s quiet assertion that the song felt “white” to her; pixie Pilar correctly identifying a clarinet; and Mario’s content concentration on his quiz question.

I know no one else is surprised (teaching is in my blood, after all), but this has been a pleasant discovery for me.

I sleep in the top left bunk!

No comments:

Post a Comment