Since I began giving homework online almost two years ago I have established an email connection with the students.
Homework must be handed in by email. In addition, some of the students write to me when they are absent, agonizing over a test or desperate to know whether I’ve checked their tests already.
I always answer in them in English.
In class we communicate in Hebrew and in Israeli Sign-Language. The students write to me in Hebrew. I know for a fact that they paste my replies into Google Translate and read them in Hebrew.
I still write to them in English.
A student recently asked me point blank if I was aware that everyone reads my letters using Google Translate. When I replied that I was, he wanted to know why I continued writing in English.
I replied that I am an English teacher.
I’m not sure that suffices as an educational rationale for doing something. I certainly can’t supply the students with an explanation for why this is beneficial for them.
I still think it is the right thing to do.