It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at Language ETC!

Sez who? Sez I. That’s the great thing about blogging. You can declare anything to be anything, and stick it up on the Web, and voilà.

But wait! I don’t mean appreciation of teachers, though I certainly feel appreciated. I mean appreciation by teachers, that is, our appreciation of Language ETC. I don’t know about you, but the organization and especially the students give me back much more than what I give them. Of course, it doesn’t always feel that way; some days, when I’m preparing for class, it feels like just one more (unpaid) job. But that feeling never lasts. By the time I finish class and head home, I’m energized. And I feel like I’m doing something to support what I believe in instead of just talking about it.

Which raises an interesting question. Why did you choose teach English to immigrants, rather than do some other kind of volunteer work? What kinds of life experiences drew you to Language ETC? How does teaching here fit in with your values and beliefs?

I’m curious about how some people develop positive attitudes toward immigrants in a society that is becoming ever more hostile to them. For me, it started with living for three years in West Africa. Though that was 30 years ago, it had a lasting impact on the way I see other people, cultures, and languages. I suspect that quite a few of us have had some kind of international experience, but that various life experiences could have similar effects — perhaps growing up as the child of immigrants, or becoming friends with people from other cultures in college or at work. Please share. If you would be willing to chat briefly about the experiences that led you to LETC, please drop me an e-mail (see the About page) or talk to Steve or Lee. I’d like to include some responses in a future blog post.

Meanwhile, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, here are some of our fantastic teachers in action. All photos © Elsie Hull.

Weekday 4B teacher Merilee Janssen (left) in the volunteer room with Ashley Lipps. Ashley has just become LETC's new program director after spending a year as our AmeriCorps volunteer.

Judie Guy plays a circle game with her 3A class.

Sam Tracy and his 1A students.

Joan Kerrigan (left) and Mary Ellen Guerra team-teaching in their Basic-B class.

1A teacher Robin Hanerfeld adds a student to the class roster.

1B teacher Grif Johnson welcomes a student to class.

2B teacher Pat Nyhan likes a student's response.

It all comes together at graduation. 3A teacher Susan Schneider with her students from Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

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2 Responses to It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at Language ETC!

  1. Ashley Lipps says:

    That is a good question! Why do some people take the time to volunteer with immigrants while all you see on the news is more and more hostility? One of the reasons I wanted to join AmeriCorps and work with immigrants was that I was tired of hearing people complain about immigrants not knowing English, usually people who had never tried to learn a language nor tried to help someone else do so. I imagine all of the volunteers here know from experience, learning a language is difficult. It takes hard work and opportunity. Our students bring the hard work, teachers provide the oppourtunity, and the students improve their English and their lives.

  2. Steven White says:

    As director of volunteers at LETC I would like to THANK ALL LETC VOLUNTEERS FOR ALL YOU DO!!! I am still amazed by the number of talented and dedicated people that take time from their busy lives to volunteer to help complete strangers improve their situation in this country by teaching them English. I too began my LETC experience as a volunteer co-teacher (3B on Monday nights) and I know that after a long day at work the first thing you probably want to do is head home and relax. Instead, most of you head to LETC once a week (some of you even more!!!) to teach. I know that you all have your own reasons for doing this but the thing that matters and is appreciated most is that you do it with great integrity!!!
    Thank you again!

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