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Teaching Philosophy 

Carl W. Buechner’s famous line, They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel, is more than just a pleasant quote. Many educators, including myself, both understand, appreciate, and make it a meaningful share of their instruction. My students indisputably do not remember every word I say, but they enjoy my attention and being in the center of class activities. They feel important, included, and appreciated. Consequently, they choose to learn and grow.

ESOL classrooms are naturally made up of culturally and linguistically diverse students. It is, therefore, vital that they all feel welcome and comfortable from the start. To achieve that, I develop my curriculum and activities around them. I take the steps to get to know my students’ backgrounds, interests, and goals. Once I know what drives my students, I plan activities that help their culture, prior experience, and knowledge meet their current individual needs, capitalize their strengths, and motivate them to learn. This creates meaningful opportunities for my students to practice English language skills, explore their new reality, and appreciate their own unique perspectives. 

Fostering success in a diverse setting means not only learning a new language but acquiring the cultural competence of the new country. Since many of my students come from educational backgrounds where they have little saying in what happens in the class, I allow them to explore their new identities through differentiated activities and assessment. I let them create their own learning criteria, give them an opportunity to pick a project deadline, or chose a topic for their next presentation. My students appreciate the empowering effect of making class decisions. The result is that they perform better, learn faster, and achieve more.   

Another way to help ESOL students successfully become a part of the new culture is to teach them a range of important core competencies. These include collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, responsibility, and even self-awareness. I encourage my students to practice those skills through active participation in such class activities as think-pair-share, small and large-group discussions, projects, presentations, online discussions, field trips, and more.

As an ESOL teacher who understands the importance of her students’ emotional well-being and the effect it has on academic success, I continuously monitor, facilitate, and mentor my students. This way, none of them feels or stays behind. Instead, they share their diverse ways, become inspired, and make it one-of-a-kind class experience. When this happens, it does not matter if my students remember every word I say. What matters is how it feels, and it feels good. I call it success - the students' and mine.

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