Jul 8, 2010

My Shiny New Job: Week One

Today is my first day off. 

So far I've slept in, eaten some canteloupe that toes the line between ripe and overripe, and taken a Life Colours test (I'm a blue/yellow, btw). 

Also, I've been able to reflect on the past few days at my new job, teaching in an ESL youth summer program.

I wish I could share some dirt here. I wish there were funny one-liners from overconfident students, some goofy tale of things gone wrong. 

I worked at a summer school before, in England three years ago, and jeez, were those classes juicy. The students were all shy, all wary of one another, all clinging to friends from their home countries. 

We had debates, discussions, oh sometimes you could hear the shattering of cultural stereotypes! There were flirtations, broken hearts, a student so wealthy he bought a laptop for his girlfriend of two weeks. Yep, it was a rollercoaster. 

But at this school, with these kids, there are no messes. No highs and lows yet, no hostile judgement or bitter arguments or adorably obvious crushes. These kids all get along! 

I put them in groups for an assignment, and they hum along nicely, speaking English all the way. 

Heck, on day two of class, the Brazilians, Emiratis, and Taiwanese kids were greeting each other like old friends. They joke with each other, they help each other with their English, I feel like they don't need me at all. 

What gives? Not that I'm hoping for melodrama, but I was all good and ready for some shy kids, wary of one another. I had a pile of activities and discussions up my sleeve to help them break the ice and build friendships.

Then I would sit back, watch the relationships grow, and think to myself, this summer, they have truly learned something. A rainbow would appear, "What a Wonderful World" would come on the radio, maybe I would tear up a little. 
It seems these students are already open-minded. Already they want to learn about other cultures. Already, they know the value of English as a facet of global communication. 

Dang, they're wise in their youth. 

Of course, I'm thilled, but I can't help wondering why this situation is so different from the last. Three years ago, in a multicultural classroom, it was like pulling teeth getting students to take an interest in one another.

Is it the rise of online social networking, connecting teens with new friends all over the world?

Is it the fact that these kids are from countries so distant from one another, they carry no preconceived stereotypes about their classmates?

Or are they just a freak crop of mature young things, and I had the cosmic fortune of being placed with that one golden ticket of a class?

Whatever it is, I'm grateful. Week one of work, and it's all good. 

That's not the stuff of juicy blog posts, I know. 

I'm sure there will be a love triangle soon. 

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