Progress Doesn’t Always Come In Through the Front Door


Photo by Roni Epstein

Remember the 10th grade girl that CAME TO ME three weeks ago to discuss the fact that she hasn’t been doing any homework? Well if you expect to hear that everything has been “hunky dory” since that conversation then you are reading the wrong blog…

The progress report, up to a few days ago, was that we had begun exchanging emails. No actual homework task had been done, but now we were “connected”.

Then, during our last lesson, I discovered that for some reason this girl, whom I will call T, hadn’t worked at our Y.A.L.P word station yet. I asked another girl, whom we will call G to be here tutor there. G and T are friends and have a lot in common – they are both loud and noisy, both weak students who tend to balk easily at a task.

But G has worked 7 times at the Y.A.L.P word station already.

Out of the fifty irregular verbs in the past she is working on, she now knows thirty two. She began with three.

T didn’t want to go to the word station. She kind of waved her hand in the air and said that I must be crazy if I think she’s going to work with a pile of words. I didn’t say anything. G dragged her over and kept saying:” You got to see how much fun this is, I laugh all the time. And look at my progress chart – see I didn’t know the words either!”.  T knew that the alternative was doing something with me so she opted for her friend.

The girls really worked the whole lesson (which, by the way, gave me much needed quiet to work with others!) and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Today my colleague sent me a message that T had left me a homework assignment on my desk!!!! Assignment number one!

Note: One of the joys of having my own blog! So much happens in the classroom every day, about some of which I’m pleased and some of which I’m not. It is good to sit down and write about progress – reminds me that I need patience for those other issues!

4 thoughts on “Progress Doesn’t Always Come In Through the Front Door”

  1. That’s brilliant Naomi 🙂 I tend to find that if things come from the other students it is always more acceptable. For example, ai have a Russian student who joined my upper intermediate class last week. He used his iphone to translate every word he didn’t know, without trying to guess from the context or ask the other students. I spoke to him about it, then overheard two of the other students telling how much it had helped them when they put their dictionaries away and only used them selectively. Yesterday, he even came up to me and asked me for a word he needed, pointing out that he was trying not to use his phone 🙂
    I hope T continues to get support from G

  2. It is so great to have you all to share this with! And to think people ask me WHY I blog – your support and interest means a lot!

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