I hear there is a popular sporting event happening today. Far be it for me to ignore a snacking occasion or a great TV binge but…this is not important to me or to my mission.
I am teaching six students newly arrived in the US that not only are they safe here, but they are wanted. I am teaching them to speak and understand English. To navigate middle and high school peer relations. To become part of their new community.
Further, I have three granddaughters to whom I want to teach critical thinking, empathy, and I am so grateful that they are learning this from their parents since my time with them is so very limited.
Some of my school kids are taking standardized tests in English that will determine their eligibility for a diploma…for example, the same English tests that their native English speaking peers have to pass…even though these kids have been learning English for only the past 1-30 months. I have students who have been here for almost three years who still speak almost no English. I have students who have been here for six months who are earning straight As and surpassing their native speaking peers. There is no one way to teach them.
So when you struggle to understand someone with an accent, remember, they are learning a second language. When someone mispronounces a word, they learned it by reading. When someone mixes two languages in a spoken message, that person is bilingual. Encourage them. Most of us only know one cultural reality for the entirety of our lives. This does not make you superior to others who live in many.