Thursday, October 30, 2008
My ESL friends
In the process of volunteering at Hunter Street Baptist Church's ESL program, I have bonded with some of the students, of course, but the students in this type of ESL program easily move from one type of life to another. One minute they are just arriving and know no English, the next they are seeking jobs and getting into culture and language even more. The ones that stay are those with young children or those that work somewhere or time that they can continue to come to classes during the day. Or the wives of working men that can afford to stay at home. Anyway, you get the point. There is quite a bit of coming and going. And because I am in and out of different classes, I am getting to know a lot of the students, but none "deeply". But I do love them. Anyway, this year, the bonding I have done has been more with the teachers. I got to know the "hostess" who welcomes everyone, tests and places our students, and organizes a lot of other things like copies, snacks, etc. She is very sweet and fun. I have also gotten to know the "coordinator" who was a missionary and school music teacher, loves music and is a whiz at teaching, and organizing all the classes (finds teachers and substitutes). She is also the leader at "break time" when we sing sweet funny songs, spend time with each other, and have snacks. There is the English whiz and former high school teacher who loves grammar and phonics (and the students, of course) and is very gifted in the advanced class. There is the former kindergarten teacher who loves and nurtures the beginners. I also can't forget the young Indonesian mommy who helps in every way and every thing. And also, the "assistant" in the beginner's class who plays with babies, sits patiently beside one older lady helping her understand, and supports in a lot of other ways. So, you see, these people have really filled my heart with love for themselves and for the students that we teach. They are special, special people who all have a distinct place to fill. And, most important for me, they have welcomed me with open arms even though I don't go to church there. In the beginning, many thought I did. They would say stuff about Sunday morning as if I was there. However, now that they know I don't, they are still ready to accept me for who I am. They are loving, kind, encouraging, complementary, and full of the Lord. I so appreciate them. And I appreciate the fire God has lit in my heart for internationals, for you see, I now know what I want to do "when I grow up". I want to teach ESL. I want to be a part of peoples lives who were not born here, but chose to be here. I am sure there are things they don't like about our country, but they have a innocent, fresh perspective. And I enjoy learning to see things from someone else's eyes. So, thank you to the people who make ESL at HSBC a great place to love, learn, and build friendships! And, as a side note, thank you to my sister who encouraged me to get involved in an ESL program.