The Problem

So I’m not the kind of student I used to be. I used to be Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, Teacher’s Pet, all that nonsense. I wanted my teachers to like me, since my parents didn’t. It was a kind of passive-aggressive revenge that–surprise!–didn’t really work. Abusers don’t look at all the people who like you and rethinkContinue reading “The Problem”

Halfway into the Unknown

Halfway through my Masters of Education program, I just started observing Level 1 ESL classes in the Seattle area. And wow. Boy is there loads I still don’t know. I tutored ESL students for 15 years while teaching occasional stand-alone workshops to them for five years. And I still know nothing about classroom management, curriculumContinue reading “Halfway into the Unknown”

Repetition Is the Mother of Knowledge

A Russian proverb for the day. Straight from me to you. We seem to live in a redundancy-phobic age. Everything is about upgrades, innovation, the next season. The day after Christmas, furry pink hearts and boxes of children’s Valentines packed shelves at my local drugstore. “Yeah,” a cashier told me. “We already have Easter inContinue reading “Repetition Is the Mother of Knowledge”

Put the Sledgehammer Down and Step Away from Your Fear

So my regular swim instructor and I approach fear the same way. Soldier up. Power through it. Pick up the sledgehammer and smash through that wall, baby. But this latest lesson was different. A woman walked down the pool deck and introduced herself as the substitute for my class. She reminded me of Olympic swimmers I’d seen on television, petiteContinue reading “Put the Sledgehammer Down and Step Away from Your Fear”

How Do You Find Your Courage?

I just started swimming lessons at the local public pool. The bleachers are dotted with parents thumbing through their phones, and the pool foams with children in orange and green swim caps. In perfect formation, they churn the lanes (“You got quite a boil going there,” one teacher calls to the most energetic swimmer. “You trying to cookContinue reading “How Do You Find Your Courage?”

Top Five Reasons to Learn a New Language If You’re Over 30

So I just started taking Russian classes. My classmates and I arrive promptly at 6:15 and greet each other with a polite “Prevyet. Kak dela?” A lot of our friends are impressed but confused as to, well, why would you do this to yourself? I mean, who has the time, they say. If you have theContinue reading “Top Five Reasons to Learn a New Language If You’re Over 30”