Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Teaching ESL with a Spanish Surname

I have a few ESL students whose first language is Spanish. I also happen to have a Spanish last name. I don't put my full name in my ads on craigslist, but I usually do use my last name when signing my first email responding to an inquiry from a potential student. Occasionally, Spanish-speaking students are concerned that I may not be a native English speaker.

When they meet me, they discover that I am a native English speaker and we then have a small discussion about how the southwestern part of the United States actually used to belong to Mexico and that there are many, many people in this part of the country whose families have been here for generations.

Just as a tip to other ESL tutors doing advertising, if you have a distinctly "ethnic" name, it may be useful to emphasize in your ads that you are a native-English speaker (although, I include this in my ad and people still have questions) and/or initially do not use your last name.


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