The complications of teaching English as an inbetween American

Two weeks ago exactly, I embarked on a new adventure: teaching English.

I’m an inbetween American. I have the privilege of being the daughter of immigrants whose education was influenced by their colonizer, and so – I both love and detest the power language can signify to another country.

During orientation before we began teaching, I found myself speaking the most with those who learned British-English the way I did, from family. I teased them the culture and foods they loved so much were from their colonies not Britain itself. In response, they responded that my language was the one I learned, whether or not I liked it. (Though I hate to admit it, they were more right than I know: For years growing up, I used to spell things the way my parents did, not knowing that American English spelled them differently.)

But while we speak the same language, our students may not. And frustration may happen because of the differences in our English and their other teachers’.

The objective of the teaching program is to teach English without the use of another language. The language level of our students will be (for the most part) extremely basic.

A basic level of language means they may notice differences in tones and spellings more than even the teachers will.

In my teaching, I hope to respect and use those differences, and to set a new pattern: teaching and learning English together.



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