An ESL Teacher reflects on her SpeakeasyDC experience

    News and Information August 20th, 2014 By Allison Kirsch
    An ESL Teacher reflects on her SpeakeasyDC experience

    I finally had the chance to combine two of my favorite DC activities: teaching ESL and storytelling! I participated in my first open mic with SpeakeasyDC in 2009 and started teaching ESL soon after. I've taught students with all different levels of English, from all types of educational backgrounds, and many different countries - some of which I would never be able to find on a map. Every semester, I ask my students what they want to get out of our time together in English class and inevitably they want to learn more about American culture and slang. I frequently find myself channeling my storytelling skills to get my point across in class to explain new concepts or define vocabulary words. This summer's class is all about conversation. Each class has a level of storytelling to it: Whether it's talking about favorite holiday traditions, how dating works in different cultures, or talking about laws and crimes, each student has a story to tell. 

    What better way to have foreigners learn and relate to American culture than to take them on a field trip to see people discuss their own personal experiences? They loved their first storytelling experience. Hands down, their favorite of the night was Lauren Ober's story about learning how to buy drugs. They thought the way she told her story was so genuine and funny. They were also amused by the stories from Amy Hoang Wrona and Yair because they incorporated different cultures and accents. The best part? Seeing some "American Slang" live in action and learning some important new words like "sketchy" and "misdemeanor." Thank you SpeakeasyDC! 




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