Friday, July 19, 2013

ESL with Natalie

My time at Iskasitaa thus far has been full of new, exciting, challenging and eye-opening experiences. I have learned a great deal-and quickly-which can only be a good sign going forward. I have found everyone at Iskashitaa to be extraordinarily friendly, helpful, and committed to a common cause. This not only creates a great (if sometimes hectic) work environment, but is also inspiring. The combined knowledge base of everyone involved with Iskashitaa is so large that there always is, and I'm sure always will be, something to learn.
One of my most memorable experiences thus far was the introduction to the Tuesday night ESL class I will be teaching. I have a fair amount of experience with teaching and curriculum development, but I have never taught adults or English. My Tuesday night class ranges anywhere from five to eleven students. Six women were present that first evening. One of the women had been in the United States only a few months, but the others had been here for nearly ten years. English levels varied, along with the priorities and opinions of the students. It seemed to me that the feelings in the room ranged from resentment to frustration to embarrassment. After about an hour and a half of introduction with Iskashitaa Director Barbara Eiswerth, we both had a better idea of the challenges that were ahead.
Looking forward at the two classes I have had since that first night, there have definitely been challenges, both expected and unexpected. The students fluctuate and English levels fluctuate with them, which means it can be very difficult to plan ahead. Looking forward at the short amount of time I will have with these students, I can only hope to impart some lasting knowledge, as I have already begun to gain an immense amount in return.

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