Thursday, December 1, 2016

San Mateo Adult School Citizenship Classes (TIFFANY -- 6/28, 6/30, 7/5)

Tiffany Tam
6/28, 6/30, 7/5: 12:30 to 3:30 pm
San Mateo Adult School
Beatrice Dee

I helped teach citizenship classes at the San Mateo Adult School the summer before my junior year.

My preconceptions were that the people there would have a good foundation of being able to speak English. However that was not the case. By my second visit, I was using citizenship to teach them English. Trying to make them understand what they were writing or saying was key. It forced me to realize adult education is not just a privilege, but a necessity for seniors. I could feel from them that coming to the adult school at least twice a week allowed them to feel a sense of community and achievement — something they were not able to feel otherwise. 

Coming into this, I did not realize how much individualized teaching/tutoring I would be doing. I thought I would be more of an assistant and help the real teacher with whatever they needed me to do. However, that was not the case — I was assigned to work with 2-3 individuals at a time. This really challenged me to take on a leadership stance in a place I was very unfamiliar in. I believe my emotional reactions resembled that of a teacher’s. For me, it was awe-inspiring that people over 60 years old were still trying to learn and achieve something. 

I believe I had an impact through my service. Throughout my first three visits, I primarily worked with the same 2 people. Both of them were from Peru and in their 70s. It was amazing to see how my work impacted their performance and it made me feel satisfied to see I was making a difference in my community. By the end of my first three visits, they had improved in writing, reading, conversation and the 100 questions (oral). 

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