When you teach ESL, there are several barriers between you and your student. The obvious one is the language barrier. That’s not what I’m talking about here. The word “understand” in the title is not referring to understanding pronunciation, spelling, or grammar.
This post is about how ESL teachers often have difficulty understanding the motivations, attitudes, goals, and struggles of their students. I’m not trying to attack anyone, and these might not be true for everybody. But if you read one and say “oh shoot, that’s me!”, then you’ve got some things to think about.