I was listening to some Pandora today, minding my own business, when suddenly a song came on in a foreign language. Spanish or something. No idea. But, I didn’t realize it was a different language for about half the duration of the song (because it was fast song…and sometimes foreign languages just don’t sound that foreign, you know?). For the first half I just sat there and stared. Bewildered. Utterly mortified that I had NO IDEA what this songstress was saying. I mean, it was truly jarring. I thought my capacity for all spoken (or, I suppose, sung) language had left me.
Then my teacher brain kicked in with a lovely little revelation.
This is what my students feel like when they don’t understand what I’m teaching about! This is why they sit there with the same look on their face that I had during this tricky little song. In all honesty, I’m a little ashamed that it took me this long to truly understand this.
So, now I’m thinking about how to remedy this. Maybe try to recreate this moment in class and explain to them that we all have this happen to us sometimes? Maybe simply tell them this story? All I know is that my students tend to make improvements if I expose to them that I have the same faults as them. We are all human. We need to help each other when we can. We also need to ask for help when we need it. I sure wish I had a Spanish speaker nearby to ask what was going on in the song (or Portuguese, or whatever the language was…and no, I don’t have any idea how it came on my Black Keys Pandora station).
And I don’t even want to start thinking about what ESL students must go through. Yikes.