Tuesday, I observed but yesterday, I taught my first class of ESL (English as a Second Language) to a group of LEGAL aliens who are desperate to learn our language. Husbands, wives, men and women from all walks of life: professional, technical, domestic and some older folks who’ve finally joined their younger families here. I’ve got people from Viet Nam, China, Venezuela, India, Morroco, Iran, Turkey, Russia…you name it. From all over. I taught at a local Catholic church to people who come from Muslim families, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and some who don’t believe anything.
The classes are free. The teachers are all volunteers.
They want to learn to pronounce words like ‘husband’, ‘granddaughter’, ‘happy’ and ‘coffee’. They stare at my mouth to see how I pronounce my words – like the word ‘THIS’. They can’t go from the ‘th’ sound to the ‘s’ sound. How can I get to some action concept of walking or drinking when I can’t get past ‘THIS’? They see how I write it on the white board, and they type it into their smartphones, which translates the word and says it to them in their own language and oh! the surprise when they now understand what word we are working on. Goodness, its so much more involved than I could imagine.
There are 4 levels of instruction being offered. The higher levels focus on verb tense, idioms (like 2 left feet or I’m all thumbs) and terms used when opening a savings account at a bank.
One never knows how God will work in our lives. I feel blessed to share our American ways with the strangers I met yesterday. May God bless them too.