Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. January 22, 2014 Dear Ms. Petro, Thank you for your note. I understand that Alrica’s sentences (c and d) were wrong, as the instructions of the book, “authored by British educators”, require verbs in the simple past tense. Actually she originally wrote her sentences with “sailed” and “boarded”. But, it was my mistake, I overlooked the instructions and advised her to write “was sailing” and “were boarding”, because these are actions going on during some actions in the past (“when you called” and “when the principal arrived”). Hence the former verbs should be in the past progressive tense. So, when you corrected the sentences, perhaps you missed to cross out “when you called” and “when the principal arrived” as well, so that the sentences would be grammatically correct. I also understand that it is still early to introduce the progressive tenses in their grade level. But I have to request you to PLEASE explain to Alrica the mistake. Though I very well know I am right, she would listen to you and believe you MORE, because YOU are her teacher. You pretty well know the hero worship of students to their teachers. And if you would not explain to her, perhaps she would be doubting whenever I correct her. Yes, as teachers*, we encourage our students to be independent in doing their homework to develop their self-sufficiency in their progress in learning. At home, we motivate Alrica to do her homework alone, and she asks for approval or corrections, if any, in her finished work. We also understand that the teacher in school cannot monitor closely each and every student individually, so when Alrica finds difficulty in dealing with her homework in some of her subjects, we augment the learning process at home with more explanations, readings and sometimes researches with available materials in our library and from the internet, if necessary.
I hope you wonâ€™t mind if I mention that one problem with Alrica is her timidity and lack of self-confidence because of a sad experience. She was previously gregarious and outgoing, but one time she was openly criticized and reprimanded in class by a former teacher for which she felt greatly embarrassed. She cried in class and continued crying at home. From then on, she felt reluctant to voice out her thoughts and feelings, afraid to be criticized and reprimanded again. Every time I notice this happening, I give her some pep talk to build her self-confidence and overcome her diffidence. I hope you could help us on this. Madam Petro, please do not misunderstand my writing you. We do appreciate your efforts as teachers and your cooperation with us parents/grandparents for the development of our children/grandchildren. Best regards, Wilma Piniera Avila
*Modesty aside, I taught English grammar for 2 years in high school and 16 years in college before I came to the UAE in 1986. I came to the UAE as a tutor-governess for the 4 children of a UAE national. I completed with merit The Master TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) and Teaching English for Speakers of other Language (TESOL), Courses conducted by TEFLINK, British Teacher Training for the 21st Century.