My experience in ESL was marked by diverse community with people from many different places in Brazil, and by the amazing teachers who were always dedicated and professional. They supported us and applied learning techniques that meant I progressed a lot during the class. Not to mention the wonderful snacks we shared as a class! — Andrea
I have been teaching ESL with ProGente Connections for a year and a half. When I first began in September 2017 I had never taught ESL before, so I was incredibly nervous. Who am I to be teaching ESL to adults older than me, with no experience? my anxious brain kept asking back then, and sometimes still does. I learned that English being my first language goes a long way, as does our curriculum partner Intercambio’s fabulous materials. Most importantly I learned that, especially with introductory ESL, expertise is sometimes less important than relationships. A successful class isn’t about me, it’s about a sense of community.
In my nearly one and a half years volunteering with Progente Connections, I’m reminded of how important language is in the world today. Not only because there is only so much you can do without knowing what is going on around you, but also to make yourself heard and understood by those around you. You can be brilliantly eloquent in your native language, but for those who don’t know it in the slightest, they typically don’t understand why. This is why being bilingual (or trilingual or multilingual) is important.