Monday, April 18, 2011

"Is it okay if I borrow an umbrella?"

Just wanted to express how proud I am a the fact that two of my most notoriously shy and under-achieving students scored very well on their speaking tests today. They had to complete simple dialogues of request using a photo prompt, and then complete scripted dialogues using an appropriate English idiom. These idiom dialogues were veiwed for the first time during the test and therefore required some sight-reading ability as well.

Anyway, Raymond a tall, large, and lumbering embodiment of shyness and uncertainty took his time and nailed most of the dialogue - losing points only on reading speed and accuracy. I was so proud that he gave it a shot at all - usually, he's content to just shyly shake his head "no" when called upon in class or one-on-one for a test. I was so proud and he couldn't get that smile off his face.

Raymond has been one of my pet projects for the last two years. I always give him chances to speak in class, and he always declines, but he's clearly gotten comfprtable with me, and that matters more. He's clearly a bit of a social outcast in the bigger picture, but he does have his own group of perennial under achievers that he surrounds himself with. They couldn't believe that he scored an 8 out of 10 and they were so happy for him.

The best part was that when his friend, Gordon, got a perfct 10, Raymond did the exact opposite of what most of my students do when their friend gets a better score. Raymond congratulated Gordon from the position of someone who was also still riding high on his own success - no competition there, just happy that the ones who usually don't do at all, were doing remarkably well.

Anyway - diamonds in the rough.

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