With my two little monkeys, respectively 5 and 7 years old, which I’ve been playing, learning with and making my best to teach to, yesterday we were reading a story.
We were reading a story in our new our-hands-made tent, one of them holding a torch and the other making sure all the three of us were very comfortable bringing in pillows and covers.
We read the story, it was nice. I’ve been reading them storybooks since I met them and we enjoy the reading so much. They got used to the fact that books are in another language, they’re in English. They don’t care if they don’t get all the words. Actually, the little one still doesn’t, while the elder asks me specifically what that word he doesn’t know means. Most of the times, storybooks are told in the past tense, and even though they don’t know what a past tense is, they start to hear the sound, and get close to the meaning. I haven’t obviously introduced the past tense as a formal objective of my classes with them, it’s too soon. I was repeating to myself that when it will have been the moment, they will have shown their English knowledge in the most spontaneous way, as all of us do with our first language, since a very early age.
I always speak with them just in English, to give them the most meaningful exposure to the language I can. They answer me back in the language they feel like. Short sentences in English, but honestly, most of the times in Italian if I don’t encourage them to try with English.
Pietro, the eldest, told me (in Italian), that that morning he went sightseeing with his classmates. I asked:
“Where did you go this morning?”
“I went to Prato della Valle“.
I was like: “What did you say?!?!?!”
I started kissing and hugging him with tears in my eyes, I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t hold that big excitement, I simply couldn’t!
He asked why did I react like this and I said: “Nothing, it’s just that I’m so happy you can’t even imagine why! You spoke in the past tense without even realizing it!”
During the day, another past tense came out from his mouth, he said:
“I said NO!”
I can’t express how proud of him I am and how beautiful it was to listen to those words, in such a natural way. It was like the cricket of my consciousness told me:
“WOW! Alice you’re doing the right thing. It works, your efforts are worthy. Always. Even when results are not visible from the beginning.”
Patience and Fun, this is what I learned from children.
Wow. This was my WOW yesterday’s moment. One of those who reminds you the daily beauty and honor of being a Teacher.