In our school, we get newbies every single day. I teach a level 3 ESL class, but it makes no difference. Though most of my kids have been here around a year, kids who just set foot in the USA are regularly dispatched to my classroom.
"What's your name?" I ask. They look at me like I fell from the sky.
"Where are you from?" Same response.
Yet the tests, devised by the geniuses at Tweed, place them in intermediate ESL. Never mind that they can't converse on the most basic level.
But they really open up in their language class, according to their teacher, who spies for me part time.
"You have Mr. Educator?" they ask.
“Well, you’d better speak English. He hates it when you don’t speak English. He screams and goes crazy.”
“Yes, he’s crazy.”
“He screamed at me too,” said a quiet girl.
No one could believe it. “Why?”
“I wasn’t speaking English,” she confessed, averting her eyes a little.
“Oh my gosh,” said the new guy, “I’d better get out of that class.”
“No,” said the quiet girl. “You can learn a lot in his class. And he’s very nice once you get past his being crazy.”
I’m flattered, I think.