Sunday, November 29, 2009

Learning English is a Bit Like...Ummmm...Knitting?!

Julia Hopson of Knit Wits, Penzance, Cornwall ...Image via Wikipedia

Here in Israel, before being a staying at home mum I taught EFL. Yes, I was a teacher. But after Maya was born I gave up teaching because I didn't want my school problems to interfere with my job as a mum. And (mainly)because I hated being a teacher in Israel. The system is a pile of crap, the students are wild etc, etc. Anyhow, I have here and there a few private pupils, which I teach mainly because I don't want to loose my hand at teaching. One never knows...
So I have this one high school student, a very nice girl whose knowledge of English is somewhere near...zero. Nothing. Nada. Ziltch. She has no talent for it, she's also dyslectic, she doesn't really want to study, only to chat and send SMS's. I've been teaching her for an year and a half now and her mother insist that I continue. Yesterday evening I was at their place, preparing to start the lesson. Dialog:
She: What are we going to do today?"
Me: Well, we'll continue to work at your reading comprehension skills and then we'll check blah, blah...
She: But I don't want to (whiney voice) !!!It's booooring....
Me: I know honey, I know...
(Whay I wanted to say instead was: "I am your English teacher! I am here to teach you English! If you wanted an entertainer, why didn't you ask your mother for a clown???")
Me: (patting her hand): I know it is hard for you now, but it'll get better, I promise. Look,me, for example. I took up knitting. And it is very difficult for me, and frustrating and boring, because I don't knit well and I can knit only a scarf at this stage. But if I practice, I'll get better and I'll knit socks and hats and dolls for my daughter, and it'll be fun...
She: (unconvinced and with a smug smile on her face, directed to my incapability to knit):O.K., O.K., but could we do writing instead."
And so "we"ended by writing writing letters, she wrote them in Hebrew and I, for two bloody hours, I translated and explained and exemplified (meanwhile, she kept cheking her mobile phone for SMSs every couple of minutes).
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3 comments:

Katherine Jenkins said...

I always enjoy reading your blog Alone in Holy Land. I just started a new blog called Writers Rising, contact me if you'd like to be a regular contributor, we'd love to have you!! kathyjenkins@hotmail.com

Lesa @ Conveniently Simplistic said...

Why aren't you homeschooling instead of having your daughter in a system that you say is crap? You can homeschool in Israel. I've found plently of resources online about homeschooling there.

Mizzsharon said...

Its hard to teach when the other party does not wanna learn.
Likewise with everything else going around us throughout our lives.

Anyway, I am following you on networkedblogs now. please drop by my blog once in awhile too. =) Have a great day.