“You care too much, Dara!” “Why are you so passionate?” These are comments I’ve heard throughout my years as an ESL teacher. I’ve been accused of caring too much regarding student learning, their adjustment to American culture or general concerns. Former colleagues, auditors, or people who felt they needed to criticize me, all have accused me of being too passionate. The good news is that my students didn’t mind my caring, passionate self. In fact, they encouraged it and appreciated my love for teaching English, and helping them in the process.
By definition, a naysayer is a person who says negative things to another. Naysayers are people who tend to be negative towards other people, whether it is their behavior, attitude, actions, or personality. Sometimes, naysayers can be our best friends or our worst enemy. It depends on how you handle the situation. In the ESL field or inside the classroom, there will be naysayers. They can be colleagues or classmates. So how do we handle the naysayers? It’s simple. Don’t take it personal.
Sometimes a naysayer will say something that will bother you. That person may have good intentions, but their comment may upset you. Ignore it and move on. If the naysayer is saying something rude or insulting, definitely ignore it. Try not to argue with them, because it will only make the situation worse. When naysayers tell me I care too much, I simply ignore them. Always be true to yourself.
Naysayers can easily become haters. Haters are similar to naysayers except they express hate towards you. This is the worst kind of "naysaying." When confronted with a hater, ignore them as well. If you decide to confront a naysayer or hater, use caution. Again, these people may want to see you upset or start an argument. Don’t allow your blood pressure to raise over their ignorance or foolishness.
Discrimination is something we all face whether we are teachers or students. Sadly, it is apart of life. Teachers can be discriminated by fellow teachers, even students. Students can face discrimination from their teachers or classmates. So how does one know they are being discriminated? Discrimination is to expresses dislike or mistreats another based on how he or she looks, their culture, religion, gender, sexuality, race, disability, anything that makes you different from another person.
For example, if you are an ESL student with a speech impediment, another student may laugh at the way he speaks. As a result, that student may not want to interact with him, or ostracize him from group activities. Another example is a Muslim student who wears a jilbab, and the teacher demands that she takes it off while in class. Lastly, a student complains to the administration of the ESL program that his teacher is too fat and wants another teacher. These are examples of discrimination. This happens both verbally and through actions. When this happens, tell the supervisor or someone who is in charge of the ESL program or school. Don’t be silent.
Discrimination is against the law in many countries, especially here in the U.S. It is wrong. Discrimination should not be allowed inside or outside the ESL classroom.
Remember to always stand tall.