It's very difficult to teach Sandra. She did not think like normal people. When she told me things, it was hard to understand her. Worse, when she expressed herself in class, she babbled on and on and on, and no way to stop her. Another teacher told me that Sandra's husband left her and this might explain her restlessness.
Afterwards, Sandra stopped talking; she didn't even listen. She just came to the class and started to write hoping that her writing could improve. Again, it's difficult to make out her writing. When I asked her what she was trying to say, her explanation would confuse me further, and I could only pretend I understood. When I explain English grammar to her, she did not grasp it. So I just edited her writing and tried not to edit too much. She was very happy because she thought she had improved.
In fact, she had not.
Her writing did improve after 6 months. Gradually, I understood her writing – her words started to make sense and the organization of her writing was also improved. This was amazing, considering that she just sat there and wrote. One day, Sandra wrote: “My husben to china, he not back, I vary mess he.” (My husband went to China and he has not come back. I miss him very much.)
Maybe it took her very long to learn to express herself in English. It was good that she finally did.
2005 June 9
*Sandra is not her real name.