Here is my first blog post! I was so excited after running into my former student in the library today that I went to post a Facebook status about it. That is when I realized I wanted to say so much more than one paragraph of a status and I decided to create this blog so that I can share so many more of my ideas. I hope you enjoy it J
Last semester, I had a practicum experience leading a conversation table every Friday to help adult English Language Learners practice English. One of my students came into the ETMC (Educational Technology and Media Center a.k.a best job in the world) this morning while I was working and I was so happy to see her. She and her husband both attended my conversation table last year. She told me that her husband started college courses this semester in order to get a better job and make a better life for their family. The amount of effort this couple puts into their education is amazing and I know that their future and that of their children will be so bright because of all of the hard work they put in!
She asked me if I would be teaching them again this year and I told her I wasn’t sure because this year’s classes will have to lead the tables as their practicum. She told me repeatedly how much they benefited from working with me and how much they want me to teach them again. She asked me to please come back and teach them English. She said that she and her husband were talking about me this summer and her husband said, “Deserae talks so fast, but I can understand her, but for some reason I cannot understand my professors…I wish Deserae could teach all of my classes”. It is moments like these that make volunteering with these students all worth it. The appreciation that they show and just the simple fact that they still remember me after an entire summer break makes me feel great. Just knowing that the time I spent helping them practice English helped them so much is amazing.
So many times we take education for granted. Not that we do it on purpose, but we just don’t think about how blessed we are to receive the education that we do. These adults immigrated to the United States to make better lives for their families; leaving behind careers they worked so hard to practice and family members, only to come to America and have to start from square one due to a lack of language skills. I had students in my class who were doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers in their native countries, but were working as retail merchandisers and fast food employees here because of their incompetency in English. These students that I worked with are working so hard to acquire English and all of the skills necessary to resume their careers or even venture into a new job.
The gratitude these students express for something as simple as practicing English with them is extremely humbling. I love children so much and had never seriously considered teaching adults prior to last semester. After working with these adult English Language Learners, I definitely want to work with adult non-native English speakers at some point in my career. The students I worked with are dedicated, determined, and extremely hard-working. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them and I am especially thrilled that I still get to see some of them around campus!