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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

End of spring break.

I have returned from my volunteer trip/spring break. We did quite a few interesting things during the trip, working with many different organizations.

One of the things we did that interested me the most was help at adult ESL classes. I have never before worked with adults in an educational capacity. The whole experience was really interesting. It was a little unsettling, but I learned a lot and worked with some really interesting people. In particular, a 73-year-old man who was only just beginning the ESL classes, and was not did not know how to read or write in any language. We was so motivated and really wanted to be there and learn how to write and read, in both Spanish and in English. (Although, he did spend a lot of time telling me stories about his life and his children, which while not quite on topic, was endlessly interesting for me.)

Another thing we did was help an organization that works with Latino/as. We were sent to several high schools to hand out surveys to the students, asking what services would be helpful to these students and their families. We were told to give the surveys to the Latino/a students. I don't know how we were supposed to identify which students were Latino/a, but I think they wanted us to do so based only on appearance. This made me incredibly uncomfortable. You can't tell if someone is Latino/a based only on appearance! I basically just asked anyone who came up to our table to fill out the survey, regardless of whether or not they "looked" Latino/a. This certainly flavored my perception of the organization though (along with several other things they did, which I can't really articulate in a clear way, but which also made me less pleased with the organization than the other members of my group, who had less experience studying the issues important in Latino/a communities, and multicultural communities in general).

Now though I am back at school and ready to finish up my last semester here as a student.


Blogger Megan said...

Adult ESL--welcome to my world. I love hearing their stories; I'm reminded every day how fascinating people truly are. I'm glad you got to experience it. At the end of my first day teaching adult ESL, I knew I'd found home. It's not for everyone, but it's the best gig I've ever had.

Sounds like you had an amazing Spring Break.

11:33 PM  

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