I have just started my practice teaching at the People's Resource Center in Wheaton. This has been my first week in this English class. Just observing on the first day, but jumping right into teaching on the second day.
This is my story...so far
So far, I have met a woman who watched her whole family murdered in front of her. I've met a woman who had been tortured (doused with hot oil). I've made coffee with a woman from Kenya who has five children, all born in the U.S. They all speak English perfectly. She feels bad, though, that she is forgetting her first language, Swahili, and that her children do not know that language at all. There are 9 others in the class, some with horrific stories, some not quite so terrible. But every one has some huge loss in their lives. The biggest loss is leaving their home countries because of the things that happen there, things that we Americans can not imagine. They are so far from their homes. And no matter what their home countries were like, they were still their homes. And they had to leave and come to this very strange place that I call my home.
The reason they come to see me? I am their new English teacher. Well, to be accurate, I am just doing my practice teaching. But a more permanent position will hopefully be mine next year.
The first thing I notice about these people? They are just SO NICE! How can they be so nice? And excited to meet me? I mean after all they have been through... Even I get grumpy when stuck in bad traffic. But they have been through so much more.
Now they start a new life in a new country and I start a new chapter in mine.
They have come so far. And now we are on a journey together. I feel honored that I get to share in this small part of their lives.