Speaking a Language Everyone Can Understand
When you’re a mother of three and English is not your native tongue, life in the United States can be challenging to say the least. But two REACH residents have taken matters into their own hands and, since January, have been working with REACH volunteer Kaia Williams on English as a Second Language (ESL) skills. They meet once a week, learning from one another, student and teacher both.
Kaia has been teaching ESL for thirty-five years, getting her start with her daughter. She began using flash cards and pictures when her daughter was very young and learning to read. And then something clicked. She realized this same method could be beneficial to people learning English for the first time. Things fell into place from there. (And by the way, her daughter excelled in school!)
She enjoys how everyone has a different learning style, so her one-on-one sessions always offer something new. Her favorite part is learning from her students and witnessing “the humor and the laughter and the joy of seeing them understand.”
Teaching ESL has made Kaia aware of the importance of language. She knows “there are so many people coming to this country from many cultures and they have so many barriers,” language being one among many. Teaching ESL has been a way to give back. She views her role teaching English much like helping someone learn to ride a bike: first you have to use training wheels, but eventually those come off and you can glide through life. She knows that asking for help can be difficult, and she is glad that REACH empowers its residents to do what is best for them. As she says about REACH, “it’s such a perfect name. It just fits.” Our thanks to you, Kaia, for your gentle humor, caring ways, and for your time. Not only do we appreciate you, but we know those you’re working with are learning valuable skills for life.