In addition to my research responsibilities, I actively contributed to teaching conversational English to the Youth Service Program (YSP). My focus was on students with limited or no prior knowledge of English, guiding them through the basics of conversational skills. The enthusiasm and mutual support among the students were palpable; they eagerly collaborated and displayed genuine excitement for learning.
One particularly memorable connection I formed was with Olinety. Initially reserved due to her limited English, Olinety gradually warmed up as I earned her trust through collaborative cooking sessions during lunch breaks. Olinety consistently volunteered, fearlessly tackling questions, unfazed by any mistakes. The atmosphere was one of camaraderie; the students were genuinely invested in each other’s understanding of the concepts.
Olinety’s passion for learning was evident despite having completed only up to 6th grade and her brightness and eagerness for knowledge were inspiring. Witnessing the rapid progress of these students and building authentic connections with them proved to be immensely rewarding. The opportunity to spend more time with this group was especially meaningful, considering their initial hesitancy to open up due to communication challenges. I am grateful for the chance to contribute to their growth and witness the transformative journey of these YSP participants.
Christina Ruth, Tevel Fellow, Summer 2023