Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My little heartbreaker

I have a student who I have completely fallen in love with! He is such a smart kid and he tries so hard to study and improve in all ways he can. I have been spending more and more time after school time with him to improve his English. To be honest, his English needs little improvement, just some tweaking. I thought that he must have parents at home that speak English to him. But, it's not the case, his father died several years ago and he just lives with a guardian. He hasn't seen his 3 sisters in over a year. Yet, this little 14 year old will try to be the best he can be is so apparent. I worked on an essay contest with him and he needed to answer the question of why is water precious? in at least 500 words. He did it! I helped him with some grammar points, but they were 100% his thoughts and ideas and 95% his grammar. It has been noted in several publications that when a student is acquiring vocabulary, the average student can attain 7 new vocabulary words in one lesson. He can acquire about 20. Now that the essay is finished (one week of after school work with him), I have been giving him flashcards to memorize vocabulary. At the rate we are going, he is attaining about 100 new vocabulary words per week.

Recently, he came over to my house and we were having a "chat session". A session where we don't learn new vocabulary but where I ask him questions and he responds and then he can ask me questions. We only speak in English. His questions were these: when you are on an airplane to Tanzania, how do you eat? how do you bath? what do you do for that many hours? Then, he asked me if it's true that Americans have pictures of the sun, moon, and the planets. I told him it's true, they exist and that I will show him pictures of space His smile was ear to ear and he responded with I will become so smart!

Selfishly, Jon and I want to keep him at our school because he's so great to work with and it's so rewarding, however, we are looking into the possibility of having him accepted into a better boarding school about 1.5 hours from our school. The students at the boarding school are much brighter than most of our students. He will excel at a better school and be surrounded by smarter students. We asked him first if he would want to switch schools and he said yes without hesitation. We hope to work it out, if possible, before mid-April. He is just so smart and bright, he deserves a better education and we're going to do all we can to try to make it work out for him. In the meantime, I am ecstatic to be spending so much time with a Tanzanian student who aspires to be the President of Tanzania when he grows up. He's so hopeful and studious, he just breaks my heart with how adorable he is!

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