Friday, April 27, 2018

The Jacket

The entire social studies department in my school is walking around with these jackets that say. "Francis Lewis High School Social Studies Department." Naturally, I'm insanely jealous, but on the other hand, I'm not a member of the social studies department, so what good would it do me even if I were to get my hands on one? I'd be a fraud.

I'm an ESL teacher. That means English as a second language. Of course, for the last year or two we've been called ENL teachers, or teachers of English as a new language. What difference that may make to a student learning English is negligible at best, Of course, many students come to us already knowing multiple languages, and English could be a third, fourth, or tenth language. So it makes sense. But if you're like me, and you've been saying ESL since, oh, 1986, it's tough to make the adjustment.

So I approached my supervisor. I told her the social studies teachers had these jackets and that we needed them too. I explained to her that it was important to let the ESL teachers know they were ENL teachers. A whole lot of ESL teachers are calling themselves ESL teachers, and for goodness sake, they ought to know better. What if every ESL teacher says that instead of ENL? How will anyone know that ESL teachers are really ENL teachers?

My supervisor looked at me as though I had just fallen from the sky, but she does that frequently so I ignored it. (Maybe it's just some thing they teach at supervisor school. Who am I to comment on things I don't understand?)

But as soon as I stepped out of the office, one of the foreign language teachers started giving me a hard time. Why shouldn't we get jackets too, she wanted to know. So unreasonable. I explained how ESL teachers didn't know they were ENL teachers, and also that the only way to conclusively resolve this important issue was to give us all jackets.

She was totally mad. She said what about us? We foreign language teachers are now world language teachers, and how are we supposed to remember that if we don't get a bunch of free jackets? Wow. I thought, how petty. Just because we have something, she needs to have it too. As if that weren't reason enough, the foreign language teachers outnumber us. There are maybe ten of us and thirty of them.

I mean, here I am, with this great idea, and one of my colleagues has to go and ruin everything. What, she can't remember the difference between foreign language and world language? I mean, it's just one little word. What kind of logic is that anyway?

It's time we got over these petty squabbles and worked out our differences, First thing this morning, I'm going back to the supervisor and make my case, before the foreign language teacher gets there first and makes her case.
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