As previously posted, I was teaching an ESL course called “Fee for Service” where students pay a fee and get lessons – as opposed to other ESL classes such as LINC where it’s government funded for new immigrants. In this class, my students were visitors here on vacation, or here on a visa of some kind; looking to improve their English while they spend their time here in Canada.
Pat currently still teaches this class for low-intermediate level students, while I had the chance of doing a winter term with beginners. Needless to say, the class was interesting, I met so many people from all over the world – Brazil to China, Jordan to Peru… and all had so many things to say about themselves, their families and their lives in their home countries.
At one point in the class, I was teaching the vocabulary for different kinds of jobs, one of them being a police officer. A student from Brazil was triggered by this, and told me in the little English skills that they had that police in their country were bad – and did shooting motions as if he had a gun. My other students from Central and South America consolidated with him. I immediately had to stop the situation from escalating, and reassure my students that police officers in Canada were good people and not corrupt. This situation really made me think about our lives here in Canada, and how lucky we are to be in such a peaceful country. We think we “know” about what’s happening in the world, but we do not actually “know” because most of us have never experienced something like government corruption. You really get a reality check sometimes.
There were many other stories like this, especially ones coming from South America. My students from China had to leave early in the course because their country doesn’t allow them to stay outside of China for too long and they must return for a certain about of time.
At the end of the course, we all got to bring a little piece of our countries and cultures into the class as a Pot Luck lunch. We had an amazing time talking about our future plans, took a lot of pictures, and of course, ate some amazing cultural food! It was the perfect ending to such a great course, and I’ll miss all of my students terribly.