I was talking to a colleague recently about how it can be hard to write a blog without sounding cheesy and contrived. But because I’m genuinely very passionate about our Talking Together project I love telling stories about the incredible learners who attend our classes. (Just ask my boyfriend who has to put up with being told about every funny or sweet moment!)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting final classes of some of our Talking Together courses. A particularly memorable last class was at Wapping Bangladesh Association. The volunteers Louise and Hannah had arranged for the learners to each say a few words about why they were learning English and what they like about classes. Having visited this class many times, I was really moved by seeing how much their confidence had grown and how much clearer their pronunciation was. “I am attending English course so I can improve my English. I also want to work so it’s important… I enjoy attending English class because my teacher makes the lesson interesting and fun.”
I also had a chance to hear learners from our class at Praxis Community Projects practising their statements for their Rhythm and Rights Human Rights Day celebration.
“I want to live in a world full of love.” “I want to live in a world with no slavery.” “I want to live in a world where there is no war.”
As well as the hard work of our learners, the dedication of our volunteers is impressive. The amount of work they put into something that they are not getting paid for is incredible and I can’t thank them enough.
Recently I’ve also had the chance to teach a few classes myself when volunteers have been unwell or on holiday. Not only is this a great way for me to get a first-hand understanding of the challenges that volunteers face, it’s also fun. From being asked to explain what ‘oh my gosh’ means (they weren’t happy that I didn’t have a definition of ‘gosh’) to being told I am past the age at which one should be married, there is never a dull moment when teaching! There are so many unexpected little things I learn at every class. At one class, we spent time talking about motherhood and despite their broken English, I got a great understanding of what being a mother means to them (alongside some anecdotes about their children which may have put me off starting a family any time soon…)
If you’re interested in volunteering on the project in either London or the West Midlands, don’t hesitate to get in touch on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Whilst we may not be taking additional volunteers right now, we hope to be recruiting more in the New Year!