Au Revoir, Elsie

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Another teacher will also not be returning this September: Elsie Choi. Elsie has been with the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program for 11 years – she started when she was 19 years old, according to her. Elsie is a veteran teacher who has decided to take some time off – right now, she’s on a cruise ship somewhere in the Northern Atlantic. Always camera shy, we don’t have any good videos of Elsie, but below you can read something she wrote about her classes a couple years ago. We’ll miss you, Elsie!

My Year with 1A & 1B

By Elsie Choi

August 29, 2012 was Orientation Day already after a long summer of relaxation.  It was time to meet a whole new group of students and get the show ready for the road. I was a little nervous. First impressions are very important. What should I wear for the day? I am sure that my students feel the same way. They were there to check me out, and at the same time, wondering what is in store for them for the coming year.

A few students come in way before class time but the majority can barely make it. There is a tendency that people come in later and later as the year goes on. Of course they have tons of excuses… my children, my dog, my watch….”See, my watch says 9…”

Students gradually become friends and chat. Think that they do not know enough English to do so? No problem. Their native language kicks in naturally. Or, a mixture of languages will do. “I did my homework la. (Chinese)”, “Is this good ma? (Chinese)”,“Michael is outside ah! (Chinese)”.  ALL ENGLISH! …..ALL ENGLISH!

Oh! No! Test again?! Eyes are wandering around. Some just want to get that 100 percent in the test. Believe it or not, a few people know they are right but still glance at their neighbor’s paper to see if the other person is doing it correctly. What a busybody!

Homework is usually done by most students but it is like pulling teeth for some. To enforce this requirement, it causes more work for the teacher to follow up and make sure that make-up homework is done the next day. A threat using Michael’s name is useful, sometimes.

Well, the year is going by swiftly despite the heartache and headache we have had. We have shared tears and laughter with personal happenings and have grown together. Let’s celebrate. Food is the number one choice. Students feed the teacher, me, all year long. I thank you all by showing you my forever growing “muffin top.”

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