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Blog of an ESL teacher



United States

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June 25, 2008

The mother of my student from Africa asked me to look at a letter she received last week.  It was from Canada and it said "You have won $250,000 USD.  Enclosed is a check for $4000 to pay to Ms X (another name) who is the tax agent."

Inside was a check that was from a bank in Florida.  It had a gold hologram security stamp.

"Oh, Ms. N," my student's mom said, "If this is real, it is a miracle!"  This family came to the USA as refugees and they are really struggling to get by.  Sometimes I bring them rice and other things.  I do this because I know what it is like to be a stranger in another country...it's very difficult!

 Well, as convincing as the letter and the check seemed I told her I wanted my friend, who is a professional FRAUD EXAMINER, to look at it.  He said that it was fake.  He said, "If she deposited the check, the check would be no good and then it would be sent back to the "company" BUT the bank would have printed her account number on the back of the check.  Then the criminals would have her bank account number."  Or he said that it could be a money laundering scheme and if she signed the check and the criminals were caught, she would be in legal trouble, too!  Then she might get deported!!!!

It is a very dangerous scam.  Why?  Because new immigrants who have money troubles might be tempted and believe that in America, one can get easy money.  Many new immigrants believe this about America because of movies.

I cautioned her to be very very careful in the future.

I hope she will be.

05:22 AM Mar 04 2013


United States

excellent advice and very true. there is a saying here that "if something looks too good to be true, it probably is". Scams like you describe are common and so people must use caution.

04:20 AM Mar 04 2013



First, I've learned a lesson, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Even if it comes from so trustworthy countries as Canada and United States.

There're different programs that provide help for the refugees before they find a job. They are far from being starving.

I remember one fraud on the nice website of selling stuff. There was a very good car, mildly used and a good model. And it wasn't expensive! Too good to be true!

After a couple of exchanging e-mails and being asked to transfer money first as a fee for something, I got it that it was 100% fraud.

October 17, 2007

At another school in Cleveland last week there was a terrible tragedy:  a young student, age 14, brought guns to his school and shot his teachers and some students.  The news reported he was a troubled young man.  This is so awful because I wonder if someone might do that at MY school!  My students are nervous too.  I try to reassure them but really no place is 100% safe!  I am always afraid to make a student angry.  I don't try to make students angry but sometimes if I say, "Please turn off your cell phone" or something like that, they get angry!  Why won't American students listen to their teachers?  My international (ESL) students always pay attention and listen to their teachers but they are afraid of the American students.  They ask "Why do they speak so disrespectfully to you?"

That is a hard question to answer!

I don't know how to answer that for the students in my school!

01:51 PM Dec 14 2007


i am very glad to write you this letter.
how are you ?
i hope every things is moving on well by the grace of the almighty God.
my name is isaac kobina mensah from Ghana and i want you to be my best penapl in your country.
your reply.

12:52 PM Dec 08 2007


well i think that wether a student doesnt pay attention to his or her professor or not is something that has to do with a question of education and personal character. not paying attention is a trend,a human condition. the same happens everywhere. the pupils dont respect anybody because they have lost the respect for themselves due to many problems they or even one might go through. the only thing we can do is to pray for them and ourselves to find the light.


09:18 PM Dec 05 2007

david chen1968

i'm so sad that i have heard this.i think that teachers or parent must tell them what they can do or can't do when they were young .

12:40 PM Nov 04 2007

United States

I guess maybe it's time for you to remind your students and says everybody deserve to have freedom in this land. But, you have to responsibile for what you have did and cause! Otherwise you don't derserve it! Some people need to remind and remind again. Because they never been through the other countries pain and hurts! Have you ever heart of news from a kid did graffitti all over on the street in Singapore! Look what happened to him?

12:02 PM Oct 17 2007

Russian Federation

I think it is very sad and I support you. So if you are not very busy can you give me some information about you,shool and life in your country. Please do not hesitate to inform me about it. I will wait your answet.

My adress is: ihi@fromru.com

Iam from Russia and want to talk with people who speaks very well ENGLISH. 

June 30, 2007

Friday is Game Day at our school.  My students did not want to go play games.  They would rather study English!  Well, I made them go over there to play with the American students.  Why?   It's a good way for them to socialize and to practice speaking English!  They had a lot of fun.  It is great to watch them speak English with new people.  It is a good way for them to make American friends.

02:03 PM Aug 15 2007

Puerto Rico

Ms. Nottoli

     I couldn't go there cuz I was absent that day. I'm sorry...Cry I promise that if you do that again I'll be there with you... Wink