Out of Their Shells and Unstoppabe
~ By Brittain
The days are passing so quickly; all I want in this world is for them to slow it down!! Reality is sinking in that we only have one more month here on the island. One more month with my incredible students.
In total, I have about 300 students: 70 first graders, 35 second graders, 70 third graders, 35 fourth graders, 70 fifth graders and 35 sixth graders. Believe it or not, at this point I have almost all of their names committed to memory. At the beginning of the term it was a bit overwhelming having so many students, but now I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know and love each and every one of them.
Having so many students, I learn something new every day. I learn about their siblings, what their parents’ do, what their favorite subjects are. I’ve also been able to get a grasp on what type of learners they are in the classroom, and what works best for each student both individually and as a class.
Since the semester is coming to an end, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past 5 months. I have random “Ah Hah” moments where I remember how things started out and how far both my students and myself have come.
I think that one of the most exciting things I’ve started to notice is how much my students have not only learned, but also grown. I have several shy students who have grown leaps and bounds. I remember back in January when it was next to impossible to get some of them to even repeat after me. Now, those same students are eagerly raising their hands to participate individually and answer questions in English.
Growing up I was pretty shy in school, so I can relate to the shy ones pretty easily (especially when it comes to learning another language… talk about intimidating). Nothing makes me happier than to look back and remember how shy certain students were, and to notice in my recent classes how eager and excited they are to participate and learn English. Nothing compares to the proud smile on a student’s face after they answer a question or pronounce something correctly in English. A lot of students even like to spend recess with me, asking me questions about how to say things and practice their English.
When I first started learning Spanish (don’t want to fool you, I continue to learn something new in Spanish every day ☺) I was so scared to speak. Even if I knew with confidence the answer or what to say, I was always scared to verbalize it. Learning a new language isn’t easy, even if you aren’t a shy person. Different vocabulary, different grammar, different alphabet, different accents and different pronunciation.
I can’t take credit for my students’ hard work and willingness to get out of their comfort zone and dive into a new language. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to make so many of my students feel comfortable and confident enough to participate and learn a new language. They are fully out of their shells and ready to become fluent English speakers, and I couldn’t be happier for them. It’s impossible for me to think about saying goodbye to them in a few short weeks, I’m going to miss all 300 of them so very, very much!