Mentoring, Motivating, Mothering….and Teaching too.

July 7th, 2009

zipped up face 

I’m about to fess up about my true identity, so pay attention.  Lest you think that I’m some big time blogger and have made it rich by just cranking out fun articles on my laptop while sitting on park benches (what a nice life that will be…someday), let me shock you with my true identity:  I’m a teacher. 


Yep, I’ve got a day job just like anyone else.  But the really cool thing is that my day “job” doesn’t feel like a job at all.  In fact, after three years at the same place, I still chuckle when I get my paycheck thinking “What a scam. I can’t believe they are paying me to do this”.  (Of course, I cash the paycheck anyway…I’m not nuts, just blessed.) 


I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to international college students, and it’s a fun  gig.  Like any college teacher, I prepare classes, give lectures and exams, try to grade fairly.  But what I love most about my teaching experience is the opportunity I have to mentor, motivate and mother my students.  


When my newly-arrived 18-year-old from Vietnam is cross culturemissing her mom and frustrated that no one can understand her accent, I get to play “American mommy” and give her a hug.  When my Muslim guy is struggling through a full day of college classes during Ramadan (a fasting month) and his classmates are all eating snacks and drinking coffee during break time, I get to show him to the unoccupied classroom where he can pray.  When my too-cool-for-school  Japanese dude has decided that staying up late playing video games supersedes getting up early for class, I get to remind him of his ambitious academic and life goals, and how proud his tuition-paying parents will be when he reaches those goals.


(Please don’t interpret the above examples as stereotypes of any sort.  You know that we can find examples of homesick,  religious or motivationally-challenged  students in any country or culture.  I really hardly see the cultural differences anymore.  To me, they’re all just cool kids trying to learn English in a foreign country and some day get that college degree.  I respect each and every one of them for the courageous souls that they are.)


Think about it, if we didn’t want the personal attention, special encouragement and  occasional mommy-like lectures about getting our work in on time, we would take online courses or just do self-study.  Truth is, most of us (by that I mean ME) need a good-spirited cheerleader to help us get through that book, or that course, or that semester.   And if that cheerleader happens to be the teacher, too, all the better.


Do you have a story about a special teacher that touched your life, your heart, your spirit?  I’d love to read it (and I promise not to correct your grammar :-)).


Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

4 Responses to “Mentoring, Motivating, Mothering….and Teaching too.”

  1. Lori–Great post. Love the stories about your various students. They are lucky to have you (and you, them). My day job is nursing. I’m a Cardiac Nurse. Too tired to dig out the teacher stories right now, but will get back with them. Peace to you.

  2. Hi Molly, Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. I’m sure the nursing and blogging keeps you quite busy. Peace right back at you.

  3. Great post, nice to see you get so much from what you do.
    I will never forget a teacher I had years agom she was only there a short time but made such an impact. At the time I was struggling with lots of things, my home life at best we poor, my sence of me was low and direction was lacking. Yet in her own way she saw past this and really saw me, she saw the frightened child behind the mask, she looked past the black eye, or bruise and reached out to me. I will never forget the day she caught me fighting, nor her words when she pointed out she was disappointed with me…as at that moment I too disappointed myself, and let myself down, even though prior to this I was a regular little nutter who on the surface didnt seem to care! I guess in her own way she has some major impact on my life, I often wonder now where she is and what she is doing, but in the same vain her light will be touching the lifes of many others, she certainly was one of those rare people, once finds every now and again, whos true light shines through darkend clouds.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story. The teacher in me is especially touched…wondering…hoping I can have such a profound impact on at least one of my students one day.

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