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Letter to my future self


For my Professional Development, Advocacy, and Partnership class, one of our assignments was to write a letter to our future self. If could be after our first year of teaching, when we are 30 or 40 years old, etc. I chose to write to myself after my first year of teaching. This assignment was awesome. As I was writing I realized so many things. 1- My first year of teaching is SO CLOSE! It will be here before I can blink. 2- I’m going to be married SO SOON ❤  3- I love every single child that I have the opportunity to work with. I can not imagine anything in life that could bring me more joy than working with children every single day. Here is my letter to my future self:


Dear Deserae after your first full year of teaching,

            You did it!! You have completed your first year of teaching!! I’m sure the first year was a whirlwind. Not only was it your first year of teaching, but you also got married! I’d imagine that you and Leonard have found a cute townhome in Harrisonburg and are both teaching for the city. What did you end up doing your first year? Teaching in a mainstream elementary school classroom? Teaching ESL at the elementary or middle school level? Teaching in the dual enrollment program at Smithland? Were you able to balance teaching English at the CDA with teaching full time? Did Leonard end up teaching at the middle or high school level this year?

            Regardless of where you ended up teaching and what role you played, I hope that you remembered everything you learned throughout your training at JMU. I hope that you took advantage of every opportunity to advocate for ALL of your students, as you have always wanted to do. I hope that you supported your students in every way possible and did not give up on any of them. I hope that you valued your relationship with each of your students, as well as your relationship with their families. I’m sure you did all you could to assist each family in whatever way you were capable in order to make the learning process comfortable and successful for their children. I encourage you to continue advocating for each of your students and their families throughout the years. I also hope that you are active in the Harrisonburg community. You dedicated hours upon hours of your time throughout high school and all throughout college to doing volunteer work and community service in your communities. Although I understand you may feel much busier these days, I encourage you to continue valuing the importance of community involvement and being active and supportive of your community. Remember what you always said….we all have a role to play and a contribution to make in our community!! Also remember what your dad said…if you do not help others, your existence is non-existent.

            I hope that you are continuing to support your students, not only in the classroom, but also in activities that are important to them. Go to their sporting events, plays, concerts, etc. It is important for those children to know how much you love and care about each and every one of them. You will soon be starting a family of your own and your children will change your life more than you can imagine. You do not know what love is yet, for you have not yet had children. But until you become a mother yourself, your students are your children. Love them with everything in you and care for them with your whole heart. Even when you have your own children, you students are still your children. Love them, always.

            You have always been excited about professional development. When you attended the SW VA TESOL Conference, you were so excited and learned so much. You said that you were excited for all of the professional development opportunities you would be given as a teacher….I hope you have taken advantage of all of those opportunities. No matter how successful you think this year has been, there is always, always room for growth. Your developing is not just for you, it’s for your students. Do everything you can to be the absolute best teacher you can for your kids. Professional development can’t hurt! It could be boring depending on how it is presented, but it could also be what makes you into the teacher you are.

            You heard lots of stories throughout college from first year teachers and other teachers about how the first year would be; you heard everything from absolute success to absolute terror. In the now, what would you consider your first year? I know that you are extremely optimistic and like to find the positives in everything, so I cannot imagine you would consider it a complete terror. I hope it was absolutely delightful. But if it wasn’t, that’s okay. I know that you will persevere and continue striving to be the best you can be for your kids. You have wanted to be a teacher since you were a young child and you are finally living your dream. If your first year didn’t go as planned, you need to figure out what to do to make next year better. I know that you touched the lives of your students and there are many, many more children out there who need your love, support, and guidance.

            What are your plans for next year? Will you be keeping your same position? Moving to a different position in your school or a different school completely? Have you started working on another degree yet? If not, I know you are at least taking courses at JMU. What classes did you take this year? Have you taken the Spanish Praxis yet so that you can obtain your licensure? Did you have a lot of opportunities to translate and interpret this year? I would imagine you did, and I would imagine you loved every second of that.

            Whatever your thoughts and feelings may be as you read this letter, I can confidently state that I know that you absolutely love teaching! Continue learning new things, continue supporting your kids, continue communicating with their families, continue participating in professional development, continue being active in your community, continue chasing your dreams, and most of all, continue loving ALL of your kids.   


The inexperienced, yet ambitious and caring you during your senior year of college


It’s what we’re here for


To help others……it’s what we’re here for, it’s why God made us, it’s what I love doing! 

Needless to say, I do not post on my blog as often as I should. I knew when I made the blog that it would just be for a post every now and then, related to something I felt strongly about, my thoughts, wedding plans, etc. It’s also a great way of keeping out-of-town/state family and friends up to date on life. 

Well today I have a link to share with my family and friends from the JMU website. I typed in the URL of the JMU homepage to search for something on their website and my face popped up (talk about a big surprise). A writer from Madison Magazine (a local publication) e-mailed me a while back about interviewing me for their magazine after hearing about my trip to Ghana and my volunteering in local school. First I would like to say a huge thank you to whomever shared about my activities with the writer. I have no idea who it was, but I am extremely grateful for that! 

So I answered some interview questions and took some pictures in a local elementary school (which was a lot of fun), and I knew the article would be in the fall edition of the magazine, but I hadn’t read the article and I had no idea it would be on the JMU website. Seeing my face on the webpage and reading the article was a very humbling experience for me. I truly have a passion, not only for education, but for children, and for people in general. I like helping, working with, learning about others. I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Madison Magazine for writing about me and sharing this with others. Again, I am humbled and so grateful! 

I attribute the helpfulness of my heart to God….He placed it there, after all. But I would NOT be the person I am today without my WONDERFUL, loving parents, my crazy, amazing sisters, or my unbelievably supportive fiance, who has made my college experience and life just that much sweeter. I appreciate all of the support I have received from ALL of my family, friends, and JMU family. The JMU experience is without-a-doubt one of a kind, and one that has changed my life forever. While I am sad that my time at JMU is flying by so quickly, I am abundantly grateful for all that I have gained in my short time here and I am SO ready to go out into the ‘real world’ and continue to use it to help others.

My dad is hilarious, hard-working, and kind, but most of all, he is wise. The other day he said something in a normal conversation that, I believe, is one of the most powerful statements one could make. He said, “If you do not help others, your existence is non-existent.” I could not have said it better myself 🙂 

I almost forgot the link 🙂

A Word from the Wise + my two cents :-)


I read an amazing blog post this morning, written by one of the wisest, kindest, most inspirational women I know, Jennifer Brockman. I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Brockman during my senior year of high school with class officer stuff and graduation plans. She is an amazing woman and has three beautiful children. Her post was a heartwarming story about her oldest son, Nathan. The post was such a joy to read, but also made such a valid point about the way our school systems operate today.

Mrs. Brockman wrote, “Anxiety is nothing to play around with, especially for children. As a society, as an educational system we are creating unneeded anxieties for our children. There is so much more to a person that will speak volumes about how they contribute to the world than a test score. The creativity that once was explored on a daily basis has been replaced by multiple choice tests.”

This is so sad and so true. There is so much more to a child than his/her test score. We can only pray that this standardized testing culture we have in our schools today will be done away with. I realize that we have to have a way of assessing our students, but there are so many other ways to assess children, the best of all being forms of authentic assessment.

As teachers, while we cannot do away with standardized testing, we can greatly affect the amount of stress and anxiety we place on our students to do well on these tests. For starters, teachers should never discuss things such as how many students need to pass, how hard the new test is, etc. around students. We don’t want to leave students unprepared or have them underestimate the test, but the students should be worried about one thing and one thing only: doing their best and showing what they know on the assessment. There should be no added pressures to get a certain number right, or anything else.

Teachers should create an anxiety-free culture in their classroom from day. The students should feel comfortable coming to you to talk and know that you will be there to help them out, no matter what the situation. Whatever form of assessment you choose to use during the school year should be approached in a “all I ask is that you do your very best” manner, in hopes of preparing students for end of the year cumulative assessments in the same way. I hope that I can comfort my students and teach them how to tackle the very stressful event of taking end-of-the year tests with the smallest amount of anxiety possible! 🙂

Thank you for the food for thought, Mrs. Brockman.


Valentine’s Day…..First Grade, Chinese Take-Out, and Much, Much More


Although I agree that we should show our loved ones how much we appreciate them 365 days a year, I really do love Valentine’s Day! One reason is because I am the mushiest person ever (ask Leonard) and I just love all of the hearts and cute notes, nice things being done for each other, romance, etc. More importantly, I think Valentine’s Day is so much fun for children! It’s a great time for them to work on social skills and to talk to them about friendship and love!! Not romantic love, but family love and freindly love. Kids get so excited to prepare valentines for their classmates and I think it’s great for them to all express their friendship to one another.

This post will attempt to share all of the events and stories I experienced yesterday on a very busy Valentine’s Day. To preface the stories, Leonard and I agreed not to swap gifts this year. He just purchased my engagement ring (YAY <3) over Winter Break and I didn’t want him to spend any more money on me. In addition, we are poor college students, we need groceries, etc. haha. So we agreed to not do presents, but of course I wrote a card. For the first 5 years of dating, I wrote a NOVEL inside a card every single month (12*5= 60 cards), not to mention a card on every holiday. I have calmed down a bit, because I don’t want him to get tired of reading them (it may be too late) haha! But I love cards and so I wanted to do that! I also wanted to have a nice litte set up for dinner. Well, Leonard had his first class at 9:30 A.M. and got out of his last class of the day at 8:00 p.m. I had to work at 8:00 A.M. and would also wrap up my day around p.m. So I knew I wouldn’t have any time to make a nice dinner, but we had to eat.

So at some point during the day (I don’t even remember when any more), I ran home and realized that I hadn’t put any meat in the refridgerator to thaw the night before. So my thought was, CROCK POT, of course! I threw two frozen chicken breasts, a can of black beans, some frozen corn, some taco seasoning, and a little bit of salsa into the crock pot and turned it on low. This was several hours before we would be gettting home for dinner, so I didn’t want it to cook too fast.Then when we got home I could throw it on some tortillas with sour cream and lettuce and we’d have a great meal! Romantic? Maybe not….Healthy? Not really….Delicious? Yes indeed! I was in a huge rush, but I really wanted to do something nice for when he got home from his long day. Back in January when all of the festive stuff was being put out I had bought some rose petals and these cute wine glasses that had hearts on the stems at WalMart. So I threw this together:


You may be wondering a couple of things:

1) Do you eat dinner at a card table? We do not. We do have an actual dining room set that my parents gave us, but I had some papers laying out on the table and a again I was in a rush, so I thought this table would be easier to decorate and Leonard is NOT hard to please at all. I knew he would be excited and wouldn’t care about the table. (Plus, we are college students- sometimes we eat dinner on the couch!)

2) Why is the table set up in the middle of the kitchen floor? Well, our living room is the next room over and it is an open space, so I figured with this set up, I could decorate around the table AND we could watch TV while we ate dinner 🙂

Here is a picture of the cute glasses:

photo (2)

So, that was all set and I was off to my next two locations for the day: two elementary schools for my practicum placements. At the first school, I got to pull some AWESOME English Language Learners during their lunch time and I played some vocabulary games with them and whatnot. Then, I went to a first grade classroom with my cooperating teacher and of course we were celebrating Valentine’s Day. We did some math (sorting and graphing) using Sweet Tarts and then the children were allowed to exchange valentines. This placement is a little different than my placement last year. I am with an ESL teacher, so we see different students and go into different classes. I am not with the same class everyday. So this was my first day in this class, so the students didn’t know me. So of course when they passed out valentines, I didn’t get any (not that I was bothered by this, but it is important for the next part of the story). The teacher told them that we were going to count to three and say thank you to everyone all at once. So we counted and we all said thank you. The following were the words exchanged between myself and a very cute first grade boy after shouting thank you:

Boy: What you sayin’ thank you for? You ain’t get nothin’. Did you?

Me: It’s still okay to thank everyone for being kind.

Boy: You ain’t get nothin’, did you? You like gettin’ stuff, don’t you?

Me: You don’t have to get something for a holiday. You can just say thank you for being my friend.

Boy: We ain’t your friends. You’re the teacher. We’re the students.

Me:  (Thought: this conversation will never end.) Okay, why don’t you continue working on your math sheet.

Clearly, he didn’t want to be my friend! 😦  Just another interesting conversation I overheard at school:

Boy: I just saw your pink underwear!!

Girl: No, that’s just a part of my pants.

Boy: No it’s not. I saw your pink underwear!!

Girl: I’m not wearing any underwear!

Me (thinking): (I’ll let the other teacher handle that one) 🙂

So, that’s enough school stories, but one not to self: Never wear your retainer to school if you are working with little ones. It is way too distracting for the kids and you will get incredibly confused by five children asking you if “you have bracelets”?

Okay, I got done with my practicum placement at 5:30 and I had to meet a family that was looking for a tutor at 6:45. They lived in Broadway and the GPS was telling me it would take about 32 minutes to get to their house. Since my lovely grandmother had just sent me a Starbucks gift card for Valentine’s Day, I decided I’d stop by Target. I found a loving card for Leonard and then I went to Starbucks, got a delicious drink (needless to say- my healthy eating was not on my mind today), sat down at one of the tables, and  poured my heart out into the card for the 10 minutes that I had. Then I was off!! The interview with the family went great! I didn’t feel nervous and the family was super sweet. Only problem, they had SEVERAL pets that were climbing every where. Anyone who knows me knows that I a not a fan of pets. This wasn’t the problem. The problem was that by the time I got home I couldn’t stop sneezing, my eyes were extremely itchy, and my face was breaking out……but that’s another story in itself.

At some point during all of this hustle and bustle, I thought back on my short trip home and I did not at all remember plugging in the Crock Pot! I was thinking, you have got to be kidding me!! I got back in town at 7:38 and I had to pick Leonard up at 7:50 from his class. Sooo, my thought, our favorite, Chinese!! I called our current favorite Chinese restaurant (yes, I have the number saved in my phone) and placed an order. I quickly made my way to the restaurant, and thank goodness they are super fast. So I picked up the food and arrived at the school at 7:49. Leonard’s class let out at 7:50: perfect. At 8:05 I began to wonder where he was, because they usually get out right on time. Then I rememberd: he was meeting his group member to work on their project in the library after his class!! Luckily, the library they were going to is the one I work at, so I decided to just go catch up (run my mouth) with some of my favorite, awesome co-workers to pass the time!

We left the school at 9:00 and headed home. On the way home, I told Leonard the story about turning on the crock pot but not plugging it up but he still didn’t know about my romantic set-up. He thought it was funny and he was as excited as I was to have Chinese. When we got home and opened the door, it smelled like a Mexican restaurant……..I had plugged up the Crock Pot!! My first thoughts: Crap, I spent money on Chinese food when I didn’t need to and now we have so much food. My realization: Tomorrow is Friday and now I don’t have to cook dinner!!!!! 🙂 So we sat down to our romantic and delicious Chinese dinner. It was very delicious! Here is a picture of our feast and my thoughtful card:

photo (4)                                                             photo (3)

We enjoyed the dinner and sipped some Ginger Ale out of our wine glasses. We sent this picture to my parents and sisters to try to convince them that we were drinking wine (Leonard is 21 but doesnt’ drink, and I am 20 and have never drank ( I know it’s the law, but it’s not common for college students…)

photo (5)

They all commented on how cute the glasses were, but we didn’t get any fun reactions……They know us too well! They knew it was ginger ale! Our days were busy and crazy, but we loved coming home and sharing a late dinner. We also watched the movie, Meet the Parents, which is really funny!! I am so blessed to have had the same valentine for the sixth year in a row!! I love him and can’t wait until the day we share our 60th Valentine’s Day together….and all of the days in between, of course.

As for all of these…….

photo (6) they got cleaned up the next moring! I was way too tired at the end of the night!



I will apologize up front for the length and amount of excitement shared in this post!! It may be overwhelming, but I am still overwhelmed with joy myself about what I am about to write!

On Saturday, January 5, 2013 the most unbelievable thing ever happened to me: Leonard proposed!! Today is January 11th and I am still in utter shock and am unimaginably excited! Many people have asked me how he did it, so I will share the details here.

Leonard and I were hanging out, just watching TV at his parents’ house, when he came in the room and said, “Babe, you forgot to open one of your Christmas presents.” I was excited, as we had exchanged presents much earlier and I was wondering what else he could have gotten me. The box was wrapped in beautiful red paper with a gold bow and was about the size of a piece of paper, surface wise, but was much thicker. He told me I had to stand up to open the gift, so I did just that.

When I unwrapped the box, I found a beautiful memory box inside, the kind you would put pictures and other keepsake items in. I told him it was beautiful and he told me to open the box. When I opened the box, Leonard had a piece of paper in the place of a picture, and the paper read, “Your dad said yes…..So what do you say???” I did not believe it was really happening! I said “Noooo,” (in disbelief, not in response to the proposal 😉 So Leonard is on his knee and I am in complete shock, left speechless.

He told me to open the memory box as well, and when I did, the ring box was sitting inside, also beautifully wrapped. At this point, my mind is going crazy. I can’t believe this is really happening. I said, “Leonard, do not joke about this!” He replied, “Dez, I wouldn’t do that. I am serious. Will you marry me?” And he opened the ring box and the MOST GORGEOUS ring I have ever seen was sitting inside.

As anyone who knows me could guess, I began to cry. And by cry, I mean it was Water Works 2013 in the room. I was so overjoyed that I couldn’t even respond. So for the following approximately 7 minutes, Leonard remained on his knee, awaiting an answer, and I just stood there balling my eyes out. Finally he said, “Dez, what do you say?” And, of course, I weeped a strong, “YES!” I then proceeded to hug him, swirl him around the room, all while still balling my eyes out. His parents came into the room, and although his mom and I have exchanged some strong and powerful hugs in our time as mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, at that moment we exchanged the strongest and most emotional hug ever!! I still could not believe what was happening.

I already love each and every member of his family, and they have always treated me as one of their own, but I will OFFICIALLY be a part of the Richards family and I couldn’t be happier!! I also could not dream of a better person to spend my life with than Leonard. We are so excited and we feel so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. The amount of love and support we have received from our friends and family as we announced our engagement is unbelievable.

We are both so blessed to be spending the rest of our lives together and to have the greatest support system ever. We cannot wait until our families become one family! Let the planning begin!! I have always DREAMED of planning my own wedding, and now it is a reality!! I hope my sisters are ready for LOTS of wedding talk, planning, excitement, crafting, etc.! I will remember January 5, 2013 for the rest of my life!

We are still waiting until we finish school to tie the knot, so it will most likely be sometime in the fall of 2015, as we love fall weddings, but still……..I’m SO excited and more than ready to begin planning!!

First Grade!!


*The names of the students and the teacher used in this blog post are code names, used to protect the privacy of the students I will be working with this semester.  I am very excited to share about my practicum experience, but must be careful about using real names.

This semester, my practicum placement is at an elementary school in Grottoes, VA. I am in Mrs. Q’s first grade classroom! For anyone who has never been to Grottoes, there isn’t much there. It is about a 30 minute drive for me from JMU and on the way to school on my first day, I drove past lots of farms, cows, horses, and there were even a couple of geese on the side of the road. I was so excited for my first day in first grade! When arrived to the school, there were only two cars in the parking lot; I was really early (surprise, surprise)! The school was not unlocked yet, so I anxiously waited in my Jeep for nearly half an hour.

When I entered the classroom, Mrs. Q was just arriving. I had introduced myself through e-mail, but I was really excited to meet her in person and get to know each other. Mrs. Q has two little daughters, of whom she had adorable pictures hanging in the classroom. My first thought- maybe I will get to babysit for her one day once she gets to know me J Anyhow, a little while later, the students began to arrive! I was so excited to meet them all. I cannot even write about all of the introductions I received and stories I heard upon the entrance of all of these cute little first graders! One girl, greeted me with, “Who are you?” Another screamed, “HI!! My me-maw got me these shoes last week!” One little girl attempted to read my name tag, and was followed by a little boy who just held his head low to the ground; it did not seem like he was ready to be out of bed yet. They were all so full of energy and  I was so excited to hang out with them all day and learn more about what types of learners they were. The last student to enter the classroom was a blonde-haired littler girl who was extremely hyper, and I could tell she was going to be a handful. She cheerfully greeted me and asked, “Do you like my butterfly dress? I chose to wear these tennis shoes, even though my momma told me I should wear the glitter shoes. You see my dress has butterflies and glitter on it. My momma got it for me and she wanted me to wear the glitter shoes. But I like to catch bugs at recess so we can feed them to our spider, and we have to walk through the grass, so I wanted to wear these tennis shoes. Do you think these tennis shoes look okay with my butterfly dress?” I responded, “I love your dress and you look beautiful!”. She continued, “Will you be here all day? Are you the substitute? Look the boy who sits beside me, his name is Jimmy (code name) and his last name is Rice that’s a kind of food. My last name is Scott. It sounds like something in your body, but it’s not snot, it’s Scott. Do you want to know what I have to do if I want to get an ice cream cup from Food Lion? All I have to do is listen to my momma.” She went on, and on, and on, and on. I forgot to add that almost every child in my class has a heavy southern accent, so that makes these stories even cuter!!

Mrs. Q was doing some literacy testing, so she was out in the hallway for much of the morning. There was a substitute for a couple of hours. One of the reading specialists and a special education teacher were also in and out of the room from time to time. My class had been studying spiders at science time, so I pulled students one at a time to do a super cute spider web art project that Mrs. Q found on the internet. It involved paint and yarn, so of course the kids were really exited! This was also a great way for me to introduce myself to and spend a couple of minutes chatting with each student.

Mrs. Q allowed me to come out into the hall so I could witness the test she was administered. This test quizzes the children on reading and spelling skills and is given at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. She showed me the testing for a lower reader, a higher reader, and an average first grade reader. I am very grateful that Mrs. Q let me see the process of the testing, as well as the kinds of questions and tasks the students are asked to perform.

We went on with the day: reading, seatwork, math, recess, lunch, guidance, science, P.E., reading, centers……that may be a little out of order, but you get the idea. I really enjoyed helping in the classroom throughout the day. While the kids were at P.E., I spend a little bit of time in the workroom making copies, stapling, sorting, etc.  We were going to end the day with a second recess, but it was beginning to storm and Mrs. Q didn’t want to take any chances, so she decided to stay inside and do centers again. I sat on a beanbag in the reading center and read two books aloud to a soft-spoken little girl and I really enjoyed reading to her and hearing all of her predictions about what would happen in the books.

I absolutely love my first grade class and I am so excited to spend every Wednesday of the semester with them! I can’t wait until I start presenting my lesson plans and interacting even more with them! I feel extremely blessed to be enrolled in the education program at JMU and to have the opportunity to be exposed to such a variety of classrooms and schools! And just one more closing statement, Mrs. Q is awesome!! She is easy-going, extremely nice, and she lets me help with everything, which is so cool!! I think my biggest fear was getting placed with a teacher who didn’t want to let me help, and my practicum just turned into one big observation. I know that with Mrs. Q, this won’t be the case and I am really, really excited for first grade!!

First blog post… Education Appreciation!


Here is my first blog post! I was so excited after running into my former student in the library today that I went to post a Facebook status about it. That is when I realized I wanted to say so much more than one paragraph of a status and I decided to create this blog so that I can share so many more of my ideas. I hope you enjoy it J

Last semester, I had a practicum experience leading a conversation table every Friday to help adult English Language Learners practice English. One of my students came into the ETMC (Educational Technology and Media Center a.k.a best job in the world) this morning while I was working and I was so happy to see her. She and her husband both attended my conversation table last year. She told me that her husband started college courses this semester in order to get a better job and make a better life for their family. The amount of effort this couple puts into their education is amazing and I know that their future and that of their children will be so bright because of all of the hard work they put in!

She asked me if I would be teaching them again this year and I told her I wasn’t sure because this year’s classes will have to lead the tables as their practicum. She told me repeatedly how much they benefited from working with me and how much they want me to teach them again. She asked me to please come back and teach them English. She said that she and her husband were talking about me this summer and her husband said, “Deserae talks so fast, but I can understand her, but for some reason I cannot understand my professors…I wish Deserae could teach all of my classes”. It is moments like these that make volunteering with these students all worth it. The appreciation that they show and just the simple fact that they still remember me after an entire summer break makes me feel great. Just knowing that the time I spent helping them practice English helped them so much is amazing.

So many times we take education for granted. Not that we do it on purpose, but we just don’t think about how blessed we are to receive the education that we do. These adults immigrated to the United States to make better lives for their families; leaving behind careers they worked so hard to practice and family members, only to come to America and have to start from square one due to a lack of language skills. I had students in my class who were doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers in their native countries, but were working as retail merchandisers and fast food employees here because of their incompetency in English. These students that I worked with are working so hard to acquire English and all of the skills necessary to resume their careers or even venture into a new job.

The gratitude these students express for something as simple as practicing English with them is extremely humbling. I love children so much and had never seriously considered teaching adults prior to last semester. After working with these adult English Language Learners, I definitely want to work with adult non-native English speakers at some point in my career. The students I worked with are dedicated, determined, and extremely hard-working. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them and I am especially thrilled that I still get to see some of them around campus!