Friday, April 5, 2013


One of the things I forgot to mention about myself in my first A to Z post was the fact that I am an ESL teacher.  For those of you who don't know what that means, I teach English as a Second Language in a junior and senior high school on Long Island.  In other words, I teach kids who don't speak English, how to speak English.

Teaching ESL is probably the most difficult of all teaching jobs, especially at the secondary level.  With all of the high stakes testing, there's not much time for these kids to learn English enough to pass state exams in math, science, global studies, U.S. history and English, especially when research says it takes from five to seven years to learn the language, and ours is not an easy one to learn.

Other than being the hardest job in education, mine is also the most rewarding.  To me it is the one type of teaching job where you actually get to see the fruit of your labor.  When I have a conversation with one of my students, in English and remembering when they couldn't utter a word once upon a time, well, it makes me so happy and proud of what I do.  Virtually every student I've ever had is still in my life somehow, whether it be an occasional visit at school or even home, or through parties or get-togethers here and there.

There is so much I can share about my professional career, and I will post some links below to articles relating to what I do, as well as some school stories that are worth telling.  In the meantime, here's an article that was written about my class by another writer for a local newspaper, the Suffolk Times.  Check out ESL teacher reflects on 10 years in Southold schools.

A photo of me in the Suffolk Times piece with some old and current students

As promised, here are some pieces I've penned for Yahoo Voices reflecting on what I do for a living:

An early tale of how two songs inspired a group of students and helped them to learn English, too!

The title says it all...


Every year, my class publishes an ESL Magazine, which is full of the wonderful things that come out of their minds.  This is a collection of some of the darndest things that kids say.

This one's my sentimental favorite!

Anyway, I've given you plenty to read.  If you happen to be an ESL teacher, or any other type of teacher, then you'll definitely relate to at least the last two.  There are plenty more stories like these on my Yahoo Voices Education page.  And here are a few photos of my classes over the years:


  1. I was thinking ASL and confused myself a quick minute when I read your definition. It's late.

    When I went to the middle school open house for my son, the school called it something else. I grew up with it being called ESL, I think our school district calls it something else to be more PC or something. I don't know why because English Second Language isn't offensive.

    Wait! I just remembered. It's called English Language Learners. To give them the district the benefit of the doubt, maybe they call it that because some students are learning English as their 3rd or 4th language? Who knows!?!

    Check out my A to Z! Jen Hemming and Hawing Again

  2. Lol, that's so true! I've heard it called English Language Learners, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and a few other things, but yeah, it's all the same thing!

  3. ESL is tough work but appreciated by many (students and families)
    thanks for your labor of love

    I'm a poet over at Moondustwriter nice to meet you through A to Z

  4. Wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing!!

    The Good Twin @