In the past couple of weeks I have been given the privilege to say goodbye to four of my students. Yes, certainly this is a sad day for me, but it is a wonderful day for my students, and it is an overwhelmingly proud day for both of us. Although I was saying goodbye to my students, they were saying hello to a new teacher, a new classroom. They were saying “I can do it!” “I did it!” “I’m so excited!” as they graduated out of my level and on to the next level. My students’ smiles filled the Zoom screen and their repeated “Thank you Teacher” filled my ears. Their eagerness to take on another challenge was undeniable.
As we all know, we have been forced to be creative and dedicated in new ways during this pandemic. LSS has worked to redesign English Classes into an online program. The teachers have been successful, and more importantly, our students are successful, learning to master the English language.
There are definite advantages for the students with the online format. Smaller classes and the ability to have a lot of one-on-one with volunteers give the students more personalized attention in the classroom. Additionally some students that would not otherwise be able to leave their homes due to childcare responsibilities or tight work schedules are now able to attend classes. Students are also relaxed, eagerly ask questions, and talk with each other and the instructors.
And honestly, it is the little things that I often celebrate the most in my class such as the illiterate student who could never find the right page now proudly displays it with, “Teacher, this one?!” The “ah-ha” moment when a student realizes we are talking about birthday parties, the delight on my students’ faces when they learn to use a Meeting ID for the first time. There are so many successful moments, and they are the ones I hold dear to my heart.
Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103