What I Love About English Class

  Written by Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director

Written by Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director

We’ve been hosting English classes for the Bhutanese community more than 5 years now. Over time, several things have changed. Our structure isn’t exactly the same, our lead teachers rotate in and out, our students and volunteers come and go. But there are a few things that really define our time together on Tuesday nights, and I love them.

Community

English class is all about community. Conversation partners truly welcome students. They share life together, learning about family and genuinely enjoying each other. Many students are home all day, cooking or caring for children, and coming to English class is a chance to meet with their friends. It’s a bright spot in their week. We cheer for each other’s successes and care for each other’s burdens with health and family. Volunteers often visit students in their homes, adding so much more depth to our time together in class.

Culture

There are very few places in Kansas city where Bhutanese Nepali culture is valued and celebrated. We love being one of the places where it is. Volunteers love learning about food, language, family life and celebrations of the Bhutanese refugee community. Students are welcomed exactly for who they are, even as we help them meet their goals in language learning.

Fun

I can’t remember a class where something funny didn’t happen. Learning language is very challenging, and without some humor, it can be downright frustrating. We use lots of gestures in our attempts to bridge language barriers. We aim to create a safe place to try new things and  make mistakes. Laughter is a key ingredient for that, and the friendships laughter creates are incredibly valuable as well.

In Other News

  • This Summer the Bhutanese teens ministry has broken out of our regular weekly schedule to do a variety of fun events. Next week we'll be visiting several work places to learn about the kinds of jobs they offer. We are hoping this experience will aid the teens as they consider their post-secondary educational and career options.
  • Our Kid’s Camps were an amazing time of fellowship, fun, and sharing Jesus.  Thank you so much to Christ Church Anglican, Emmanuel Baptist, and Shoal Creek for blessing our kids with all of your hard work and love!
  • One of our Bhutanese English students passed her citizenship exam last month! She shared her experience with the class this week, and we hope it will encourage others to keep working hard towards their goal.

Important Dates

  • July 9 & 16 (Latino outreach), July 14 (Bhutanese outreach): Bring A Friend/Get Acquainted nights.  If you or someone you know wonders what goes on around here on a typical night of programming, come on up/bring him or her up to find out!