By Jim Davis
Several months ago I was telling a new student about the FUMC English as a Second Language program and a bit about my role in it. “I’m a retired journalist,” I said, “and I’ve been teaching here three, maybe four, years.” One of our long-term students was listening. “I’ve been a student here for six years,” she said, “and you were here when I arrived.” I replied: “Really? I guess time flies when you’re having fun.”
Fun definitely is something I get from FUMC/ESL. The students are friendly, dedicated, hard-working and appreciative. I sometimes say that we are sharing a win-win situation – that I learn as much from them as they do from me. My years in the program have given me a new appreciation for the complexities of my native language.
Another plus for me is learning about the students’ home countries. Even as a boy I was fascinated with other countries. As an adult, traveling to other countries has been one of my greatest joys. Now I have sources of information about other countries sitting in the same room with me twice a week. If we finish the day’s lesson in time we play a game I invented. I tell them I just bought a jet airplane and I’m going to fly tomorrow to your countries. Tell me what I should see. Tell me what I should eat. Tell me what I should definitely not do. They seem to enjoy it. I know I do.