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A Rich Expereience With Many Rewards
I am not sure what possessed me to sign up as a volunteer for the Lyndale Neighborhood ESL program. At the time of the first meeting about the upcoming classes, I had about five parttime jobs and was spending any of my free time looking for a full-time job with benefits. Truthfully, I thought maybe it couldn’t hurt to gain some experience with ESL students and that it might be beneficial to observe how the teacher conducts the class and handles students who are at all different levels in their English language learning journey.
I also thought it might be a good addition to my resume, since I am a laid-off art teacher who cannot afford to go back to school to earn special ed certification or other education fields with openings for teachers at the moment. What I did not expect, but have gained from this experience, is the great personal reward that has come from getting to know all these wonderful students. It is a very rewarding thing to watch their at-first apprehensive faces turn into smiling, earnest faces as they begin to realize the teacher is nice, and she is going to be patient with them no matter how many times they need to have something repeated; that she is not going to make them feel bad if they forgot what they learned in the previous class.
It is eye-opening and humbling, as we get a deeper understanding into their lives, to comprehend the struggles and challenges the students face on a daily basis, trying to navigate life in a culture, climate and language other than what they have known growing up. And it is almost surprising, the earnestness and diligence they express in trying to grasp and understand all the technicalities and nuances of the English language. Maybe their actually wanting to learn is just surprising to me because my short time being a teacher was with junior high school students, ha!
Being a volunteer confirms my belief that most people, regardless of where they are from and what they have been through, are alike in wanting the same things – to have a safe place to live, meaningful work, a good education for their children, and to be able to connect and communicate with the people around them. Most of the ESL students have full, busy lives with children and jobs and transportation issues, and probably could not attend the classes if child care were not part of the program. I do hope they expand the daycare volunteer outreach a bit, because some nights I believe there might be a few too many children in there for two people to handle. It would be great to have some volunteers to come read a book to the kids or conduct an activity or craft project with them.
At any rate, the childcare aspect is just one of the many valuable facets of this ESL program. I am so happy and grateful to be part of such a highly organized, wonderful program, and to have the opportunity to observe and learn from such a highly qualifi ed and effective teacher as Erica. I thank you for the experience and plan to be part of it for as long as it is offered to me as a volunteer!
Tue, 2012-02-14 21:32
Tuesday, May 286:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Join us at the May General Membership meeting to hear from Minneapolis Mayoral candidates Mark Andrew & Cam Winton, Fish Fest, and Avenues for Youth. We will also be having a community vote on a request from Teen Challenge for a variance for expansion of services.
Tuesday, June 46:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Monthly Committee Meeting for the LNA Environment Committee. The Environment Committee meets on the first Tuesday of the Month.
Saturday, June 155:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Join us for one of the best Lyndale events of the year.
Friday, June 217:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Join fellow Lyndalians for an evening of board games and cocktails. Indulge your competitive self and have fun showing off your gaming skills. Just picture yourself tipping your head back in conquest, fancy intoxicant in hand. Sweet sweet victory.
Fish Festivity Functionaries:
That great month of June is upon us and the Fish Fest beckons. One of the highlights of the year, Fish Fest brings the community together in a flurry of fish tacos, good tunes, activities, and water balloons! We need help with all aspects of the event from set up to tear down, opportunities include: event and food set up, food/drink serving, activity stewards, water balloon fillers, booth sitters, money takers, and clean up stars. Contact Aryca to sign up for a shift (email@example.com or 612-824-9402 ext. 26). Let us come together and hold the best Fish Fest ever!