ESL Reflection

Friday, January 31st, 2014
I have been volunteering at ESL, English as a Second Language since I began attending Spring Hill College in August of 2012.  I am 75% Cuban, born and raised in Miami, so not surprisingly, Spanish was my first language.  Since I am familiar with both languages, I was placed in the foundations teaching class, an introductory to English. I can translate easily and I do it in a way that the students can understand since I know exactly how difficult it can be. Every semester we get new students, depending on their placement.  This semester I was so lucky to have a class full of Cubans.  I think they feel comfortable around me, but it has been a difficult adjustment for me, because as a child I spoke Spanish more easily than I did English and it’s tempting to just speak Spanish with my students. The students there are incredible though.  I look around and there is the one student who is a “bad boy,” a student who is always asking questions, and of course students who are too shy to raise their hands, but they are all some of the sweetest people I have ever met. I am so grateful to have been put in this placement; it is a constant reminder of my family back home. In the class we have created a family of our own. I cannot be helping everyone at once, and I look around sometimes and students are helping each other and it brings nothing but joy to me. The aim of this organization is to teach English to all the students so that they speak it fluently, and are comfortable speaking it since they live in the United States. I believe that the mission is essential, I have family members who speak very little English and I know how much of a struggle it is for them.  There is no doubt in my mind that I will help these students speak English to the best of their abilities by the end of the semester.  I look forward every week to seeing them and helping them.  I know that I was placed in the perfect class and they are a blessing to me. My community service assignment has and will continue to give me an opportunity to spread goodness and opportunity to others. I am I surprised by all cultural experiences I have had in Mobile so far.  I have a richer appreciation for the demands of citizenship and respect for the multitude of people striving to become United States citizens.