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An Interview With My Old ESL Teacher

Hello, how are you? Sorry this post is late, school started and I have been trying to figure things out. I am really sad because I have not read a single book in the month of September. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas just came out and I am planning on reading that soon. Also, I finished The Raven Cycle series and I might write a review about that when I can.

As you might have figured out, English is not my first language. When I first came to Canada I was assigned an ESL/ELL teacher. ESL stands for English as a Second Language, ELL stands for English Language Learner. Her job was to help improve my English and help me with  English related things so I can start to do better. I had her in grade 7 and now I am in grade 11, it’s been 4 years! She was so kind to answer my questions so I hope you enjoy!

Q: How long have you been an ESL teacher for?

A: I have been an ESL teacher for six years.

Q: How/why did you choose to become an ESL teacher?

A: I chose to become an ESL teacher because I enjoy teaching students the English language, and enjoy assisting the students and their families who are newcomers become comfortable in their new country.

Q: What are some challenges you face as an ESL teacher?

A: The greatest challenge for me as an ESL teacher is time. I work in three schools and work with over sixty students between kindergarten to grade 8. I struggle with how to best meet the needs of the students, the needs of the students’ classroom teacher in the time I have available.

Q: What are some some rewarding moments of being an ESL teacher?

A: The most rewarding moments are watching my newcomer students blossom into confident English language learners and confident in their knowledge of the expectations of their new school setting.  Thus, some of my most rewarding moments are when my students no longer require my support. ( it is always a little sad as I miss the students I no longer work with)

Q: In your opinion, what is the hardest thing for an ESL student? How do they tend to deal with it?

A: The hardest thing for an ESL student to do – really depends on the students. For some students, it is taking the risk to start speaking English with their peers and teachers. For others, it is understanding how classrooms work in Canada. The rules seem very different than other countries but students are always expected to be respectful and do their best work.  Each student deals with their struggles in different ways and at his/her own pace. For example, the student who is very hesitant to speak may start speaking to me first, then one friend, then his or her teacher, then a small group and finally to the class.

Q: Do you ever think that a student is hopeless or that you don’t want to help them because they are so difficult?

A: No, I have never met a  student who did not want to do their best. Sometimes, students might be “ walls up” because they are afraid or worried.  When I have taken the time to understand their fears or worries, the student is always very appreciative and begins to put forth the necessary effort into their work.

Q: What do you think is the best way an ESL student can help themselves?

A: There are many ways an ESL student could help themselves.

  1. Start to try to speak English as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes this is how we learn.
  2. Read, read, read
  3. Keep a daily journal – writing practice is important
  4. Explore your new community and country
  5. Make connections with other families who were newcomers – they have a world of practical information to help you

Q: What is the best quality of an ESL student that you have noticed?

A: There are two best qualities in my opinion, the willingness to take risk and always putting forth his/her best effort.

Hopefully you enjoyed this. Have a good day and see you next time 🙂


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