A Most Beautiful Accent

Glass House © Noll, June, 2015 — 

Sliding down into the darkness of knowing, I’ve hit the bottom of midterm madness, grading papers and tests, and processing it all into the ether above. I’m made to post journal entries for a ministry upon high, education of bureaucracy-not-nigh. I’ll post it now, the last post made, just so someone says something, anything, in this strange new world I find myself swimming upon, flailing high in my own mind, and quite possibly a belly-flop towards hell:

I’m almost done with midterm grades, at the end of grading 70+ material exams for high school and the last 40 or so video and written book reviews of 150 to watch, read, and grade. I have to post it all correctly to Smart-School along with all the other Google Docs and whatnot that need attention from ‘this’ novice English teacher. It’s a lot. I have good days and bad, today of which was more in the red than yesterday’s highs. Yesterday was quite lovely, as a matter of fact. So, I think Wednesday, with a class of 9th graders, is the best place to start today’s entry for staj:

Normally I read aloud to the students in order for them to hear correctly pronounced English, with the proper intonation and expression. On Wednesday, however, a handful of the students in one of my classes really wanted to read aloud. It was a very boring literature piece, so I had been spicing it up with descriptions and antics in front of the class, trying to keep 38 teens with me; it was difficult for us all. Most of my students really want to help me succeed as a new teacher, and I can palpably feel this often in classes as the students quiet each other down, pay complements after, and laugh a lot during key moments in the lectures I give and tell.

One student was raising her hand non-stop to read aloud and when I gave her a turn, she spoke loudly and with confidence – right up until almost the end of her paragraph, when she began to giggle and grin. I complained that we couldn’t hear her with the overlay of laughter between words, and so she admitted being embarrassed about her accent, most Israeli, most guttural. I stopped the lesson right there and then, insisting upon telling a story that I had learned somewhere, pop-culture, maybe from a friend.

“Who knows who Gal Gadot is,” I said loudly to the class. They all giggled and nodded with conspiratorial agreement with each other. Of course they knew; and I also found out that they already knew the story I was about to tell  – that an entire cast of women from around the world had tried their best to imitate the exotic accent of Gal Gadot in order to accentuate the fact that they were all portraying Amazonian warriors from ancient times and a mystical dimension beyond us all. I told the young lady reading in my class that her accent was beautiful, and to be proud of it. She immediately began to glow as bright as I’ve ever seen from some of my new students in English class, all engaged with learning a second or third language, maybe more.

Excited, after class, the young lady made sure to say goodbye to me as she left, that same glow hovering about her being … and then slowly following her out the door and down the hall to her life, and, of course, enveloping her Wednesday afternoon.

The end.  

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