In my class at the Center for New Americans we work on academic vocabulary. Recently we came across the word, “inspire.” As we discussed this word and came up with examples, one student said, “Teacher, you inspire us to learn more.” I have to admit, I did feel all warm and fuzzy after she told me this. However, I feel it is I that is inspired by the students. Their dedication and tenacity continues to amaze me.
Of note, at our most recent graduation ceremony, one of the speakers, a student from Guatemala, said, “I started out in class 1. Now I am in class 4. I knew only 7 words of English when I came to the United States.” This accomplishment has involved years and years of study! So very amazing!
Another student, a young man from Ethiopia, also addressed the students (as his adoring wife looked on and recorded his speech on her cell phone). He was able to share, “I want to continue my education. I want to be able to read and speak English well enough to continue onto college. I want to help others.” I wish him all the best in his endeavors!
Finally, a Bangladeshi woman also gave her fellow students advice, “If you don’t learn English, you are shut in at home. One needs to learn English because it is important to get out of the house, important to get a job, important to communicate with schools about children, etc. Learning English is a responsibility.” Very well said and so very important to hear!
It is truly inspiring and a privilege to be a teacher of these wonderful students. I can only hope to aspire to be even half as inspiring as they are!
Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103