Back in September, when I was wandering the job fair, I came across a booth. “ESLC,” it said, stating that its goal was to teach English to refugees in Salt Lake County. I talked to the woman there for a bit, picked up a flyer, and signed up for it. I paid the $45 fee after sitting down and talking it through with my parents. They said it was my choice how to spend my money, and if I wanted to pay the $45 for this, I could.
Well, $45 is a lot of money for a student with no job and trying to live off of what allowance is allotted to her. I decided to take the plunge. ESLC asked for a minimum of 100 hours commitment, approximately 6 months. The woman told me that after those 100 hours, they could write me a recommendation letter for the JET program. That’s what I want to do after college. One hundred hours for a program I’m not even going to go on for another three years? Forty-five dollars for a letter?
That better be a damn good letter, I thought, and decided to make the commitment to stay with the ESLC all 4 years. It’s my personal commitment, and it’ll help me for what I want to do with my life.
Last Saturday and today I attended the orientation, and it was brutal. Their usual orientations were on Tuesday and Thursday, 3 hours long, for 2 weeks. I can’t make Tuesday and Thursday because of classes. So I signed up for the Saturday orientation. I learned that meant 7 hours at the ESLC center from 9-4, learning as much as I could about teaching English to emergent speakers. I learned about the various methods I could use, what levels the students may be at, and what I could anticipate. I learned that lesson planning stresses me out, but that it should get better with time. I learned that despite the fact I’m very much a one-on-one person, I can’t do one-on-one because I’m not comfortable going into someone else’s home. I learned helping others gain their US citizenship, or teaching in a small group, is something I can do. I learned that the people at the ESLC are there to help, and they’re willing to accommodate.
All of that, during a 12 hour orientation held over two days, I learned.
I found out that I didn’t stress out over learning all of this. Usually, when I learn a lot of information without having time to digest, I started freaking out. How would I organize myself? Am I going to remember this knowledge? The fact I didn’t majorly stress out may mean that I am actually dedicated enough to calm myself down.
At the end of the orientation, it was an immense feeling of relief to not have to go anymore. It was also a relief to get the cheesy little certificate for finishing the training. I am now able to teach English to refugees as a volunteer with the ESLC. I’m taking a step in the right direction. I can rest knowing that I am helping myself grow right now and I’m setting myself up for my future. This piece of paper is cheesy and is probably insignificant to most other people, but to me, this is a piece of paper with a lot of meaning. I’m going somewhere.