Friday, July 12, 2013

Glorified Babysitters

That's what some people call us. But I'm not a glorified babysitter. I'm a real one.

My 17-year-old daughter lined up a nice babysitting gig for herself. Then she got an opportunity to spend two weeks in Ontario visiting family and dumped the gig on us. It works out well for our friend, the mom, since we don't take pay for our services.

The girl's almost three years old and speaks mostly Spanish. She seems to like me, but barely speaks to me at all. She prefers to gesticulate when around me. I can't really figure it out. I can speak Spanish. But it doesn't matter whether I speak Spanish or English--all I get is a lot of finger-pointing. I get my share of smiles too, so it's not all that bad.

In contrast, with my wife, she chatters like a little parrot. She comments on everything, asks questions about me, talks about everything, sings songs, but once I set foot in the room, she clams up completely.  I can't figure it out.

As an ESL teacher, one of the best things I do is open kids up and get them talking. This is pretty important because I often teach beginners. For some reason, a lot of ESL teachers prefer not to do that. I'm fine with it. You can often see really rapid progress, and for the most part, I do.

But I'm having the opposite effect on this little girl. I have no idea why.

What this lets me know is as a teacher, I'm completely different from a babysitter.
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