Thursday, May 8, 2014

Your daily dose of inspiration

We finished another session of ESL classes recently.  Once again, I have been so fortunate to work with such a lovely group of students who are smart, diligent, dedicated,  and lots of fun.  My life has been truly enriched by knowing each of them.
 Arnold and Mohamed
 We celebrated birthdays for Juanita and Arnold and learned to say "Happy Birthday" in several languages.  Above: Russian, Vietnamese, Romanian, Spanish, Tagalog, Japanese, Arabic, and French

Back: Mohamed, Anna, Aliona, Iurie, Igor
Front: Moussa, Aldouma, Thao, Tuyet
Back: Aliona, Iurie, Igor, Juanita
Front: Thao, Tuyet, Yumiko, Othman
 Checking phones is the same in any language!  Baciliso, Aldouma and Othman
 Potluck with lots of great international food
 Certificates for another session completed
 Anna and Tuyet
 Happy early birthday, Othman
 Tuyet and Juanita give oral presentations

 Circle discussion time: talking about our hopes and dreams for the future
As the session winds down, some people have left till next fishing season so our class is a bit smaller at the end.  Here are the dedicated last few!
I often think how difficult it must be to leave your home and family to come to a country where the language is strange and the customs may be completely different, where people may not necessarily welcome you, and where just getting through the day can be a struggle.  Some of my students have college degrees from their home countries but have difficulty obtaining an equivalent job here. Others have hardly attended school at all but have an inherent intelligence and a desire to learn as much as they can possibly absorb.  Some cannot get a driver's license because they can't pass the test in English (not yet, anyway!); some speak three or four languages but English isn't one of them so they are treated as if they are stupid. Filling out job applications, attending interviews, making doctor's appointments, going grocery shopping, mailing a package...things we do so routinely....are all an ordeal.  I admire their spirit and their willingness to strive ever harder to make it in this country, to ask for help when they need it, to create a community of friends who support each other in navigating through the maze of life in America.  More than anything, I want to see them achieve their dreams.