Because there are many Christian books written in English and very few written in Spanish, Linda sees the value of Dominicans learning English as it helps with their spiritual growth. Learning English helps the people economically as well because there are jobs for people who are bilingual. Linda’s classes are for adults in Juan Tomás and high school students that want to take their English to a higher level.
I was so happy to receive your invitation to share my story about how I have used the skills taught in the Masters Program at Dominican University. The classes offered by the program have revolutionized my teaching as shown by the results obtained.
Currently I am teaching 4 classes of English Second Language and touching, by the grace of God, the lives of 85 students. While this is very demanding (5 1/2 hours a day in the classroom and many, many more hours in class preparation and correcting papers as well as counseling and encouraging) it gives an incomprehensible joy knowing that I, with God’s help and by His grace, can make a difference in the lives of young people living in poverty.
My husband and I live in a village of around 10,000 people where the average monthly income per household is $312 per month. The family food basket in the Dominican Republic for a family of four is now around $259 so you can see that the people in our village are way below the poverty level. (DR1, Jan. 2013)
One of the problems with the young people is that they cannot compete in the job market when they graduate from High School because they do not have the skills that are taught in the city at prestigious private schools. This propagates continued poverty. By teaching them both ESL and computer skills they are now finding better jobs, going on to the university, and improving their lives which in turn improves the lives of their families.
Coming to study at Iglesia Biblica Manantial de Vida English Language School, they are challenged to not only learn English but also to become professionals in action with qualifications that make them attractive to employers. Ethics such as honesty, responsibility, and dependability are learned at our language school. New direction in life is also encouraged by teaching them Christian values and encouraging them to look to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
The skills taught in the Masters Program at Dominican University took my teaching to a higher level causing me to become more aware of the individual than the program, the application of the goals rather than imparting grammar and phonics, and even more important, escalating internal values rather than outward abilities with no inner core. Before the Masters program at Dominican University, I helped the students study English as a Second Language, now I encourage them to learn English. Before I taught subjects, now I teach people. Before the program was the goal, now the purpose is the objective. Before I worked hard at helping them to speak English now I see the need to help them internalize the thought patterns and emotions of the language. Before I helped them finish a program now I help them reach their objective.
There is so much more that happened to me studying in your program that words alone cannot paint the entire picture but I thank God that He led me to Dominican University and the ESL program that transformed a good teacher to an excellent teacher.
Maxima (in the yellow shirt) started to study English two years ago but had a very rebellious nature. She was aggressive with the other students and very outspoken. She could not finish level 1. In time she realized that she needed to return to her studies and that her supposed friends who weren’t interested in studying were actually hurting her rather than helping her.
She began Level 1 again and this time listened to counsel. Her attitude changed completely. She is now continuing in Level 2 and completing a technical course in practical nursing. With English she may be able to get help or at least a job that will help her continue her studies in medicine.
Luis Angel (below) was left fatherless when his father was killed in a motorcycle accident. His mother works at a little store and baking cakes to support Luis and his brother. Luis Angel is learning English so he can get a good job and help his mother and little brother.
These students and more like them are why I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to study in the Masters Program at Dominican University. Thank you Bridgett and all the quality teachers that helped me learn how to help these people more.
Linda C. McMillan