April 12th, 2007
At the very beginning I did not know what to expect. In a way, I was afraid no students were going to show up due to low temperatures and long shifts in the agricultural business. I admit I was very nervous. I tend to get very nervous when I make a commitment not only to myself, but to others. In this case, I had made a commitment to ITA (In the Arena), SLVIRC (The San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center) and the Students. I committed to spend some of my afternoons teaching English as a Second Language. After 28 sessions, I am very happy to say that my experience teaching English for the past four months was exciting, fun, and extremely motivating. We had time to laugh, learn, motivate and inspired one to another.
We met on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00p.m to 8:00p.m. I started out with seven students. From the very first moment I could tell they were extremely excited and eager to learn. In fact, it was at this point that my happiness overcame my nervousness. It was then, when I knew I was in the right place at right time. As time passed by, new students kept showing up. I was very surprised to have a young group of men and women. They were from Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador. The majority of them only went to school for a year or two. Some never did. I knew I had quite a challenge ahead of me. The goal was to keep them motivated to come to the next session. The most advanced students would always help the other students whenever they needed extra help. It was very rewarding to see their progress and enthusiasm. Rosalinda would always call me on Tuesdays to make sure I would come and pick her up to take her to class. By the 5th week or so, students were pretty familiar with the schedule and style of teaching. There were some sessions in which they took over the class and came up with they own questions, suggestions and concerns about the class or other issues that were important to them. It meant a lot to me to know that there was trust within the group.
In no time, we became a very close group which made teaching fun. On Valentines week we decided to skip class. Instead, we decided to meet with the other group (level II) watched a movie and order some pizza. The pizza was delicious and “Nacho Libre” was funny. Within our group, we had a gift exchange. The rule was not to spend more than 5 dollars. During sessions, we did a lot of fun activities. It was nice to see them chat and goof around.
This whole experience was enormously motivating. Every session I was looking forward to hear some of their inspiring stories. Every single person had a touching, inspiring, and motivating story to tell. At the end, I learned that all of us have something to share, to teach, to give. All of us can inspire others. I am very thankful for such a great time. I thank all my students for inspiring me, motivating me and for keeping me true to myself. I thank them for all the exciting, fun and motivating times we share together.