Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Please.....what is do you say.....'carry'?" Arina from Kazakhstan asked with her wide blue eyes and shy smile.

I am beaming because I have found my calling, or actually I should say I knew my calling but am finally putting it into action!

Last week I began as a volunteer tutor in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class at a local high school. The certified teacher, Victoria, threw me right into the teaching on the very first day. It felt so natural for me to read a simple story to the class. I carefully a-nun-ci-at-ed each sound, asked the students to "repeat please," and had fun demonstrating what the word, "sway" means by moving back and forth as if I was a tree!

The class of 12 or 13 students range in age from early 20s to late 50s. Countries represented (so far) include Korea, Mexico, Ukraine, Venezuela, Kenya, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and El Salvador. The very first evening I walked in, the students smiled and looked at me with respect. Within 10 minutes, Soon, an older Korean lady, called me "Teacher," and my heart melted!

All these students are here voluntarily to improve their English. It's awesome that they attend for free as the program is funded through the State of Missouri.

I love it when Antonio from Mexico corrects Boris from Ukraine on the correct personal pronoun he needs for a sentence. I love it when we, as a class, from different languages, cultures and parts of the world, can share a joke and all laugh together. I love to see the look in their eyes when understanding comes upon them.

I already knew, but have learned even moreso, that a smile knows no language barriers. I love it when I see the students from different countries partnering together in their workbooks.

I love it that at last I have taken one giant leap into my future!