Wednesday, October 26, 2011
ESL potluck at our house
Last night we invited my ESL class over for a potluck. I made a big Mexican feast...which was a bit confusing for our guests. We laughed that my typical US menu was either Italian, Thai or Mexican! We ended the evening with a rousing game of dry-erase board pictionary!
My stepfather taught ESL for many years and perhaps because of that I have a deep appreciation for what a special environment an ESL class can be. I remember growing up and coming into regular contact with foreign students. My memories of these social gatherings were that the food was inevitably extraordinary, even if I didn't have an idea of what I was eating, and the students had to have been some of the nicest people around; very appreciative and respectful towards their teacher and by extension his family.
So, I've found one way of contributing to another community while visiting is by offering English classes. There is often a great need for it and its fun to help folks move from what typically has been a grammatical study of the language to a more dynamic conversational study. Inevitably, I learn more than I teach. We end up comparing customs, trading anecdotes, laughing about cultural idiosyncrasies. The richness of cultural exchanges is one of the reasons I love to travel and work with immigrant communities in the US.
While some of my students attendance could be characterized as somewhat sporadic, they actually overcome a lot of constraints from work and family to attend the class. Jessica, Lorena, Paola, Jenny, Fernando, Marcos, and Ivan all did great in the class. And we have had a lot of laughs.
Kudos to them all.