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After clearing the idea behind this picture with the parents and the school, I wanted to actually explain to my student, Bean, what we were doing and why he was helping me with my “homework”. I wasn’t really sure how to do it so I wanted to share how I did it in case anyone was in the same position.
I started by asking him if he thought all English teachers looked like me. After his initial confusion as to what the hell I was talking about, and whether there would be a test about it later, he decided that, no, they didn’t. They might be female, older, younger, taller or shorter. When I said, “OK, can an English teacher look like you or your mum and dad?” he immediately smelled a trick question. “No” was his confident reply. I said, “Actually, they can”. I explained that some people are born in Taiwan or China or Japan etc. or have Taiwanese / Chinese / Japanese parents but grow up in America, Canada, UK etc. and speak English as their first language so they can be English teachers just like me.
He seemed satisfied, so then I asked, “What about if people have darker skin than you and I, can they teach English too?” This time I think he had clocked on to my message; that skin colour and appearance don’t make a difference to whether someone can teach English or not. He quickly said “Yes” and looked satisfied with himself. He was really happy to help out and I was pleased to put this issue into his thoughts, even for just 5 minutes.