Follow fun updates as well as interesting stories about clients, volunteers and supporters of SFBFS

June 29, 2015

Insight into ESL

My name is Phoebe Neuburger and I am a Global Studies student in my senior year at Whittier College in Los Angeles. This summer I was able to do my internship in Adult Education and in Refugee Resettlement Services at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). Volunteer service at SFBFS is a tradition in my family. Last summer I enjoyed volunteering at a food distribution and also in SFBFS’ Youth Education summer camp working with young kids. My mom volunteers as a tutor in the evenings in Adult Education where she helps students prepare for the GED exam. I joined my mom one evening last summer and I remember I really liked it. The feeling of helping others gave me a sense of purpose and I enjoyed the feeling. I was hoping my internship at SFBFS would give me a better idea of what I might want to do in my life in relation to helping people.

My internship at SFBFS has been a truly memorable experience. I was able to observe and participate in (sometimesJ) the advanced level ESL class. The ESL classes offer students an opportunity to learn and/or improve their English language speaking, reading and writing skills. The advanced class offer adults the opportunity to improve their English fluency and advance to better jobs or community college. I was able to observe and interact with a diverse group of adults and it was amazing to see how motivated every student is about accomplishing their goals. Everyone has a unique story of how he or she arrived in the U.S.

I have heard English is one of the hardest languages to learn, especially when you are an adult. All the students I met were enthusiastic and grateful learners. I was adopted from Vietnam as an infant and the ESL students reminded me of how much easier it is to learn English as a small child. I was lucky to have been young enough to learn English as a young person compared to immigrants who come from different countries and learn English as adults. As a young girl I tried pushing myself to learn English but even so, I soon lost interest and wanted to give up. The ESL students I met have inspired me and helped me see what I could improve in my own life and helped me to reflect on myself and my future. Many of the students are parents learning English for themselves, but also for their children. Without sharing a common language with your community, life is much harder.

The advanced ESL class that I observed was taught by a friendly, enthusiastic teacher named Stuart Schulz. He is a high-energy and funny teacher in every class he teaches. He was joking and laughing with his students and I could see the close bond between teacher and student. I saw how the classroom did not have to be a serious learning environment all the time. I liked the relaxed environment of the classroom and the main office of SFBFS itself. It was great how friendly and welcoming everyone was to me throughout my internship. I enjoyed the class and laughed right along with students. I felt like I was part of the class. I thought it was heartwarming when Stuart talked about his students as if they were his own family. I could see that the fun and upbeat classroom environment brought out the personalities in all the students. The students seemed to love to come to class and to learn every day. They came prepared and they came with big smiles on their faces. It is one of the best memories of my internship at SFBFS.

Submitted by: Phoebe Neuburger, SFBFS intern

No comments:

Post a Comment