I love languages. I love communication. So when I found the opportunity to volunteer and teach English at an immigration and refugee center in Center City, I couldn’t say no. My first effort to work with the Nationalities Service Center, went in vain. They had too many volunteers for the Fall session, but alas, I tried again for the Winter session and my persistence paid off! I had my first day as a Teaching Assistant for an Advanced ESL class today, and I absolutely loved it! My class has about 12 students- males and females ranging from local highschool students who just emigrated to America to older, working professionals from a different country that want to improve their English. The diversity (Korean, Chinese, Turkish, Colombian, Mexican, Spanish, Yemenis to name a few) and enthusiasm to learn English felt like a complete adrenaline rush for me. I’ve always loved teaching, but actually connecting with these individuals and helping them improve their language skills is, to sound cliché, rewarding. Even after a long day at work, coming to this class reenergizes me in the most natural way. I know I’ll be spending time now looking up teaching methods and ESL tips because my next goal is to become an actual teacher, not just a teaching assistant.
So far, I’ve got really high hopes for my class and hope to continue for more class sessions throughout the year.
To learn more about how you can volunteer in Philadelphia, definitely check out Serve Philadelphia for all of their opportunities!