August 27, 2016

Letters to Myself

In this post, I would like to highlight a couple of blogs written by my classmates. Judging the titles of their blogs alone, I think you can understand why I am showcasing them here.

You can read the specific posts that inspired what I am writing about today here:

Does the Learning Ever End
Instructor Under Construction

I thought I would comment on this topic as well by telling you a story.

These posts made me think about an unforgettable experience I had with one of my English for Academic Purposes (EAP) University prep classes. I had been teaching this this level of the program for only a year, and it was a tough year. I felt lost, like I was an impostor, and I was faking it every single day.

I had a deep appreciation for this particular group of students though because they were interested in learning English just as much as they were interested in growing as people. I had assigned a presentation, and let them choose any format and any topic. They did not take me seriously at first. I told them to talk about anything they wanted to, as long as their opinions were supported by concrete facts and sources.

On presentation day, they taught each other about their role models, overcoming discrimination, and how studying abroad will change their lives. I thought, wow, how did I get so lucky to have such an insightful group. On the last day of the class (they were all graduating and moving on) they asked if we could talk more about these subjects and share with each other. I said, sure. Let's get coffee and chat.

From this discussion, I learned of their struggles, like leaving everything behind to escape a politically  corrupt country; like losing a family because of coming out; like feeling worthless because of abusive relationships. I shared. I cried. I felt honored.

We finished this class with an activity where we wrote letters to ourselves dated at the time these struggles were at their peak and then we read them to each other. Unforgettable. I will always be tankful for this moment; re-emphasizing my belief that sharing is caring.

The posts that inspired this one were centered around a video where teachers were asked to write letters to themselves on their first days of teaching. You can watch the video here and keep your eyes out for a podcast I have recorded reading my letter to myself (click here to listen).



Click here.

Highlights from the video:

And, to fit with the reason why I have not only created this blog, but care about it, and contribute to it, and keep going with it...



What would you write to yourself?
I encourage you to share at the end of this post.

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