~A rose by any other name would smell
as sweet. But would it, really?
My name, Jennifer, comes from the Welsh Gwenhwyfar. It means “white wave” or “fair lady.” Although I don’t see myself as a “lady,” I do like the rhythmic majesty of “wave.” The tumbling, repetitive motion of it. But if it weren’t for the research I did, I wouldn’t have a clue what my name means. My parents certainly didn’t put much thought into it; they just liked it. Indeed, according to Ye Chongguang, “Chinese names are often chosen for their meaning, but English names are chosen for their sounds” (Lee, 2001).
When I teach
pronunciation, a feeling of unease claws at my chest. I scan the expectant
faces from Iran, Turkey, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, China, Korea, Columbia and
Cameroon. How do I respond to the needs of such an internationally diverse
Last week, I read over my students’ poems and was reminded how much I love my job. As teachers, we need to savour these pleasures and summon them during the more tedious moments. My students, mostly from Asia, are in a year-long EAP foundation program at Ryerson University. I asked them to write a poem based on “Where I Am From,” by George Ella Lyon.
scholastic objective was to get my students to explore their identities, but my
personal objective was to learn more about
their families, their ambitions, their countries…their lives. In class, we went
through the author’s life, stanza by stanza. We examined the details, the
imagery, and the metaphors. Then my students went home and wrote their own