Thursday, June 16, 2011

ESL = English as a Stressful Language

Whew! Summer Camp took it out of me today! The kids were all acting up throughout the day, especially as it was the last day of camp for the week, and I feel pretty drained. Still it’s been awesome to see some of the kids getting to know each other across ethnic and language barriers. There’s a lot of racism and division in Clarkston between the different refugees because they speak different languages and because of conflicts in their home countries. Summer Camp can be difficult because these divisions often operate below the surface and aren’t always obvious to outsiders. Today, though, the story was about how God loves peace among his people, something that the campers really needed to hear after all the fighting with each other. The kids that I drive home all come from different parts of the world, but I love to see them bond with each other and even play together at their apartment complexes outside of camp.

There have been two short-term teams here helping us with Summer Camp and other programs this week, which has been great. They’re all pretty excited about what’s happening here in Clarkston. Another exciting thing is the ESL (English as a Second Language) classes that will be starting up next week in my apartment complex. Another intern and I are in charge of running an ESL program this summer, so with the short-term team, we surveyed different apartments here in Clarkston Oaks and found about 13 households interested in free English classes. They will be taught inside of the apartments with groups of family or friends, and the short-term teams will go out in groups of two or three as teachers.

I’m really excited to be heading up this program. English is a huge need in Clarkston. Refugees need to learn English to get good jobs, to make friends, and even to function in daily tasks like going to the store or talking with an apartment manager. Still, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the task. Are students are anywhere from being basically conversational to knowing only a handful of words, so the task is huge. We need to make lesson plans and prepare materials for all the teachers as well as figure out where each family is in their English ability. I would definitely appreciate your prayers for this to go well next week, and that the short-term volunteers would be just as excited about teaching English as we are.

No comments:

Post a Comment