I have been a volunteer teacher since July 2009 and I teach a beginner English class twice a week at the Scalabrini Centre. I am also a graphic designer and I have my own design and editing company with my husband. This is my first teaching position after completing my TEFL course in the beginning of the year at the EF School in Kloof Street.
Looking back now, I can honestly say that I never imagined that the 3 hours a week I spend at the centre would have such a positive impact on my life. I find that I am a lot calmer, I try to be nicer to people I meet and I have definitely learned not to judge every book by its cover. I have my students to thank for this. On any of the days I teach, my class can range from 10 to 28 students. It’s loud and a bit crazy but that’s what happens when you have students who are so enthusiastic to learn a new language. I can remember thinking after my first lesson that I was crazy and that I would never get them to understand me, but looking back now, it’s so amazing to see how far they have come. I have found that while their reading and writing skills are very strong, my students really struggle to speak English fluently. We do a lot of pronunciation drills and speaking exercises in class and almost every lesson we have a speaking exercise where they have to go and practice what they have learned on different people in the class. I found that this helps them to get to know their fellow classmates and also helps them with their confidence in speaking English. Gabriel recently joined my class as an assistant teacher and he has been great. He is from Ecuador and it has been so amazing to listen to some of the questions that the students have come up with about his life and his country.
I am excited about the future and thankful for all the wonderful people I have met at the centre. I look forward to watching how my students will continue to grow and I am grateful that there are centers such as Scalabrini that do so many great things for people who really need them.