Eighteen years ago, I began teaching ESL in a small school district in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. That year I had 22 students who spoke little or no English, but thankfully, who all spoke Spanish. I quickly discovered that my High School and College Spanish were quite different from their TexMex, and that my paperback Spanish/English dictionary was good for only about 3/4 of the vocabulary I needed.
In that first group of students I had three siblings, two girls and a boy. These children were so excited to be in school, and had (and still have) such supportive parents. Eventually, I would have the other two boys in class as well. Anyway, they all are exceptional young men and women. The youngest is still in high school, but I am confident that he will continue the family tradition of excellence.
The oldest son called me about two weeks ago. When I answered the phone, he asked me if I knew who he was. I didn't recognize the number on the caller ID, so I truthfully said I did not. He identified himself and told me he wanted to come out to my home to see me. I said, "Sure!" We talked again today to firm up our time and he told me that often people don't believe he hasn't always spoken English. He credits me with that. Oh my, how amazing it is to have a former student give you such an accolade. I personally always thought that all of my students did the hardest part...learning to speak, read and write in English.
Teachers, I know none of us ever got into education to become wealthy, but today I feel very rewarded. I only hope I had a positive effect on many more over the years I spent in the classroom.