Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Choices That We Make...

"The choices that you make affect you!"

This phrase can be heard coming out of my mouth in my classroom more than once a day every day. It is usually in response to a gripe about negative consequences. It can also be my answer to a student who complains that a friend no longer likes them or that someone send something mean back to them. Something that my children are severely confused about is the fact that the things they do and choices they make affect others and therefore will come back to directly affect them.

Something that I'd like to focus on in the coming weeks is "The choices we make affect us, EVEN and especially the GOOD choices."

I wrote a while back that I have taken on the task of learning Italian. It was a choice that I made based on a series of choices I made before it (such as the choice to stay in a relationship with someone who is in the Navy and stationed in Italy for three whole years). Yesterday I fired up the Rosetta Stone and got to work after a two month hiatus. As I struggled through grammar points and new vocabulary I started to formulate connections between what I know of French and Spanish. Even with those connections, learning a language it hard and there were several times when I would have rather just turned off the computer and fired up the television (it is Thanksgiving break after all)! Instead I made another choice: to stick with it.

I was confronted with a few important points during my language learning adventure. First, the choice that I made to learn languages in middle school and high school shaped the direction that my life took in college and beyond. Then, the choice to continue to learn about languages and cultures has made me a more valuable commodity in our society, especially in regards to the job market. Finally, the choice to learn languages beyond the comfortable and safe language that helps me survive in our country every day, teaches me a tiny little bit of the frustration that my students feel on a daily basis when they arrive in this country and subsequently my classroom. Having that understanding makes me decidedly better at what I do.

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