We are now three weeks into our first quarter of classes and thoroughly enjoying all of the new faces around the Centro. It has been nice to see all of our advertising hours pay off as more and more people poured into the library during the first weeks of inscriptions. It was awesome to see the Adult Basic and Intermediate classes reach capacity, and even to have enough interest for an Advanced and Super Advanced English conversation class. It has also been nice to settle into a normal schedule now that all of our programs are finally up and running.
I had been anxiously waiting for Adult English to start; it is a program I was excited about from the beginning. While some of the other PD’s were nervous about teaching, I had a little bit of experience teaching ESL and already knew what a cool experience it can be. I was also looking forward to interacting with some of the older people in the community, since the majority of our library users are niños.
There is something really intriguing about watching adults learn. We think of the educational process as something that we go through as children and young adults but no matter what our age, we still have a lot to learn. It is fascinating to watch adults automatically return to the school-children mentality as they find themselves once again in a classroom setting. My English class whispers answers back and forth and copies off each other when my back is turned. They speak too softly when they are unsure and smile proudly when praised. They groan when I give them tests and make up excuses for why their homework isn’t done. No matter what our age, learning new things seems to keep us young at heart.
Unlike most school children however, the adults in our English classes seem to genuinely enjoy being there. This was made apparent to me when I tried to dismiss my class ten minutes early on Saturday since I assumed they were tired after the three-hour class. No one moved from their chairs, they instead started quizzing me about what kind of music I like and insisted that I sing “Yo no sé mañana” for them, translated into English. After hearing me sing they obviously didn’t beg me for an encore, but it was a fun way to pass the last ten minutes of class.
Some of the adults hang around in the library after classes on Saturday just to chat, which brings a lot of liveliness to the Centro on a day that used to be slow. Last week all of the Adult English classes learned the “Happy Birthday” song and serenaded Profe Emily after class for her birthday. One of her super advanced students and a good friend of ours Evo even brought in a cake to share. While the niños make us smile fast with a hug and an “hola profe,” having the Adult English students around has given us close friends in the community. While we try and shy away from being just an English teaching organization because there are a lot of other ways to serve the community, it is nice to provide members of the valley with a skill they so highly value and desire.
Nicole's Children's English class hard at work
Teacher Charlie explaining the future...