Ever since high school I always considered teaching as a career path to pursue. I continued to develop teaching experience in my post-secondary education, which brought me to the Waterloo Public Library as a Summer Literacy Support Facilitator.
During one of the first weeks, when I was still learning to get into my rhythm with the one on one sessions, I had one participant in my program. She had just come to Canada for a month, and she was not comfortable speaking in English yet, but she could read and write in English very well. As a result, many of our sessions required the use of a whiteboard as a form of communication. I had given her the pre-survey to do and she was going through it with no problem. I read out loud the questions so she could hear what it sounded like, while she read it in her head. During the last question, she stopped and took a while to answer. I saw this as odd, as the question was “I am glad I am coming to this program” and she had to answer with agree, I don’t know, or disagree. She then took the whiteboard and began to write down this.
At first, she wrote “You are a good teacher > $$$” and I was confused and I asked her what she meant by that. She erased the dollar signs and then wrote “It is free.” I continued to press with what she meant by that, but I decided to continue on with the session and ask her mother about it later. When her mother came in to pick her up, I asked her mother if she could tell me what her daughter meant when she wrote on the whiteboard. Her mother laughed when she heard her daughter’s explanation. She told me that what her daughter meant was that she liked coming to this program for two reasons.
First, I was a good teacher so she enjoyed coming. Second, the program was free, so her mother did not have to pay me. Out of the two reasons, the fact I was a good teacher outweighed the fact that the program was free and that she valued that more. We then all laughed, and her mother continued to tell me how her daughter felt very nervous about moving to Canada and going to school to learn English. However, once she started in the program with me, she was very excited to learn English and go to school in the fall.