Thursday, 26 March 2015

English Works

A few months ago, I found an ad in a local newspaper looking for volunteers to speak English with students from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over Skype. I'm always looking to volunteer. But being able to do it from home, makes it better and easier. I contacted the organizer, a young woman from Rio now living in New York City. Patricia, with the help of Roger (a Canadian living in London, Ontario), arranges English speaking people to have  conversations with Brazilians.

Classes began at the end of February. It's a very interesting situation. After a class, the students spend five to ten minutes in front of the computer on Skype to talk to a volunteer. There are set dialogues to follow but, depending on the level of the student, I ask them a few questions of my own. The ages rang from 13 to 55, both men and woman of varying abilities.

I enjoy teaching English. It's an important language to learn. Most countries speak English and learning a new language is always fun. Most of these students are beginners but some are more advanced. Some speak quite well while others need assistance with the words. It's a lot of fun and I enjoy meeting these people whose wide and bright smiles light up my computer.

For a long time, I have been working with a young man from Rio. I met him on the chat line. He was looking for someone to help him with his English. We hit it off and I began to teach him. In the beginning, his only words were hello, how are you. After a few years of English courses and a two week experience in England at a school for non-English speakers, he is fluent now. His vocabulary is well-established and I'm always impressed with his abilities. He gives me a lot of credit but he had done the work.

Recently, I have been speaking on Skype with one of their assistant teachers. Raphaela is a pretty young girl who desperately wishes to learn to speak English. Her writing skills are excellent but she makes some simple pronunciation errors. I'm sure she will learn quickly. She has a good ear and accepted the corrections instantly.

This world they live in is so different from ours. Classes are cancelled due to police actions, shootings and violent happenings. We are so lucky to live in such a peaceful environment. I was asked why it is so safe here and I couldn't reply. It has always been safe in Canada and I treasure this country for its peaceful existence. When told that if they don't see the police, it is strange. I replied that it is strange for us to see the cops.

If you are interested in volunteering or in the organization, check out this English Works website

have fun,
patty
www.pattylesser.com
@PattyLesser