It’s okay to be different. It means you are unique, special and authentic. I think that one of the most important things to teach students is to teach them authenticity and what it means. Being here now for almost three months, I have built some great relationships with my high school students. They are smart, talented and and have so much potential. Today, I went a little off the traditional curriculum, which those are my favorite lessons. This week students are learning descriptive text and learning how to describe famous tourist attractions from their hometowns. I asked them to describe places that are authentic to their culture and why they would want a tourist to visit this place. Their answers were really great so I decided to take it further by posing this question:
We made a mind map of synonyms that relate to the word “authentic” and for ESL students, I was really happy to see these answers. While they were writing, I couldn’t help but think of how important it is for students to learn how to be themselves and that it’s okay to be different. It is really making me reflect on how I was taught as a child and how different teaching is today. It also made me think of how happy I am that I made the choice to move out here and I guess, “be different” and move away from the traditional lifestyle I was living. I’ve always felt deep down that settling down and having a Monday through Friday job and also working weekends to pay more bills was not the life I wanted. I wanted to branch out and do something different. Sure, almost everyone my age is either engaged, married, has children, etc., but I don’t and it’s because there’s more out there at the moment for me to see. If I stay cooped up in the same M-F job, only working to pay bills with the occasional vacation here and there, how will I stand apart from the majority of the almost 30 something year olds? These are questions that I often times lost sleep over when I was living at home and the same questions that I thought about when asking my students what makes them authentic today.
Well, that’s me on my soapbox and lesson #2. Be different, be authentic, and do what’s right for you.