Today is June 13, 2018, and it was the last day of my teaching career which began in the fall of 1993. I had just graduated from Millersville University with a master’s in English, and I headed to the community college to teach a night class. I was lucky enough to get one class a semester to teach, but then I literally ran into the assistant head of a girls’ school at our daughters’ day care, and she was looking for ESL teacher. Not a lot of people in the United States were teaching English as a Second Language; in fact, there was no degree possible.
I was asked if I thought I could handle five girls from Korea who had just arrived and needed a teacher because they could only speak a little English.
“Sure!” my dumbass said. I had a little experience and fortunately had taken a lot of linguistic classes, so I knew how the language worked. Yeah. Me. Call Me Super English!
Sixteen years later, I had written the ESL curriculum for the girls’ school which had blossomed into a rose garden of second language speakers. I developed at least ten different year-long programs, plus testing preparation for students from all over the world. Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal Romania, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, and more. I was their “English Mama,” because these girls were so far from home, I served many roles.
I had planned to stay at the school and retire, but life throws us egg rolls sometimes, and I ended up teaching some of the city students in a different kind of school. I stayed nine years until ESL had evolved so much that teaching requirements changed. It happens!
I am thinking I must have had thousands of students cross my path! I was so hopeful, so determined, but it is hard for me to think this September will be the first one since 1990 that I have not been in school, either as a student or a teacher. Oh, it’s not sad. I am writing and continuing grad classes and finding new rainbows to climb.
I toast all my students! May all your dreams come true. (And I hope you know the difference between “its” and “it’s.” At least that.)