Today I met my one of the third grade classes that I will be teaching. The teacher as well as the students were very welcoming and excited for me to be there. The "learners" as they call them speak their native language of Xhosa (said with a click at the beginning), and begin transitioning to English while in 3rd grade. It was very hard for most of them to understand me. I can already tell it will be difficult to teach them due to the language barrier but I am up for the challenge.
This experience so far has made me contemplate how it must feel for our International teachers we have at Carolina Forest International Elementary. They come to our school, often just a few weeks from leaving their country, into a whole new world. I can see now how difficult that must be for them to try and integrate into a new culture. Listening to the teacher speak in Xhosa today, I felt lost and isolated. Not a great feeling when you are in a foreign country.
There are also so many mannerisms, gestures, etc. that are culturally different but have a huge impact in understanding and communicating with one another. Take for instance pointing at someone as to say come here is a normal every day occurrence, however, in the Xhosa culture it is seen as being disrespectful. As I learn more about the culture I will be sure to add it to my blog.
So much to learn, so little time.........