English class

One of the things we’ve wanted to take advantage of over the years is the demand for English. Even before we were “missionaries” Barbara-Lee was working on her Masters in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), which she finished after we joined EBM. Our first time in Puebla we didn’t do much with English, partly because of ministry circumstances and partly because of family circumstances (three little kiddos). We did do a couple English camps and some English work at some local universities, though. Here in Pueblo Nuevo as we work on meeting needs in the community, English is once again in heavy demand, from people off the street, acquaintances, in the school…all over. We decided to start out at the school, offering a course to teachers over the summer. Demand has been a bit underwhelming; we only have three takers, but it’s a start, and frankly, we’d rather start small and grow slowly than get slammed early.

Having three students lets us go one-on-one with them, Eddie, Barbara-Lee and I. It’s been good. Their English level is pretty basic, lower than we’ve done with camps in the past, so Barbara-Lee has adapted. It seems like they’re catching on well and enjoying themselves. And Barbara-Lee is good. I mean very good (I’m not just saying that because I’m her husband). She’s come up with really creative activities, she picks up on students’ strengths and weaknesses, she’s encouraging, but firm. She makes it a pleasure to participate…and I’m an English speaker! So the students will come away from the week (16 hours of English) well equipped in some basics. Of course language learning is not a one-week deal (or one month, or one year…), and they’ll need to keep working on things. … Click for more!
One of the fun things about ESL is the way it breaks down barriers and levels playing fields. The principal and the second-grade teacher are at about the same level. You get to know someone better, you get to laugh about a lot of things. There’s a certain vulnerability and risk-taking to speaking another language (believe me, we know!) and it’s a privilege to walk with someone in that. This week is really just a first step in that direction, for our three students in their English, for friendships with them, and for a larger English work.

And that’s where we need prayer and help. Barbara-Lee’s first calling is our kids right now. It’s unlikely in the near term that she’s going to have the time or energy to do 5, 10, 20 hours of English teaching/tutoring work. So we’d love to have someone down here with us with ESL training/experience. There would be so many great opportunities to do things. So please pray about this with us and, if you might fit the bill, think about coming down for a few months to help out!

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