Monday, January 6, 2014

Born a Native English Speaker

Many days I forget what it means to be born a native English speaker.  Sometimes I think that I even forget that I had to learn English myself.  I wasn't just speaking it the minute that I opened my eyes.  English takes time, concentration, and desire.  But what I sometimes just can't let go of is the fact that I was born into a world where I would be a Native English Speaker.  I didn't earn it, I didn't do anything to get the title of American.  I was just a little town in Missouri...and that sealed my destiny.  

I have been able to see so many things in my adult life.  I have been able to live out dreams that other people will only just dream about.  I have been able to examine cultures from inside the walls of the country.  But what I still just can't seem to grasp is the idea of sending your child away to a foreign country in order to learn English.  I am not talking about adult children.  I am talking about Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th and 5th graders.  I sort of understand middle school parents being willing to send their kids away.  Although I am sort of joking there is a part of me that taught  6th grade, and having been in junior high once...well I might even consider it myself when I get to that point.  But really my point is that I don't know the desperation that it takes to want to send my child to another place, to not see their face that they will speak English.  

I am not in any way saying that parents that do this are horrible.  I know that most of the time it is because they honestly believe this is what is best for the child.  But as I listened to a boy literally sobbing today...a 2nd grader because he missed his parents so much I had to wonder.  Is it really worth it?  

Another thing I wonder about is just plopping your Non-English speaking child into a classroom where the ONLY language that is spoken is English.  I had an experience the other day.  I was with mostly Koreans.  The primary language that was being spoken was Korean.  We stopped and something was said in Korean then all the Koreans started getting up and leaving the bus.  Well....the non-Korean speaking people on the bus just sat there wondering what the heck was going on.  One of the other people stated...guess this is what our students feel like when we give directions and they don't understand a word that we say.  Yep...must be.  I wonder how effective is it to throw a child into a classroom and expect them to excel?  More than that how effective is it to ask a teacher to differentiate for 20-30 kids in a classroom when each level is completely different Native speaker or Non-native it doesn't matter.  

I just don't know that I understand how we can just say it is okay.  Despite the fact that they have no idea what is being taught or said.  

It just makes me sad...and hurt because English isn't really that great.  America really isn't that great.  But we have been set apart as the people to be like and the place to go.  What are we doing with that fame?  What are we doing with that popularity?  I am not sure that much good is coming out of it.  But we sure do know how to boast about ourselves, don't we.  

If you weren't a native English speaker, what would you be willing to sacrifice just so your kids could speak English and do something with their lives?  

Would you be willing to do whatever it takes?  

We throw education away....we take it for granted...and yet millions of children around the world are busting their butts just to be able to go and study in the place that we live our day to day....

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