Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the ESL ministry of New City East Lake in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This wonderful ministry has just started using Tried and True ESL Lessons Advanced Vocabulary for their advanced class. We did an introduction to the Tried and True ESL Lessons curriculum for their teachers who will implement the curriculum later this year.
The staff was delightful and warm and the students were responsive to the teachers’ obvious love for them.
To me, it’s always amazing how God brings together a diversity of individuals with a variety of gifts and experiences to work as a team reaching out to internationals. New City East Lake is a prime example of this fact. Their director, Eunice, is from Alcapulco, Mexico. She works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the teachers and staff have all they need for success. She is also a fabulous cook and prepares many meals for special cultural exchange events with the students. Eunice sees herself as a bridge for the students as she interprets the North American culture for them in many confusing situations.
One of the teaching assistants is Carolyn, a mature woman nearing her 80's who brings a huge heart to the students and an attitude of service as she willingly fills in wherever she is most needed. She truly understands the importance of being whatever the students need to help them learn. For example, she recently found herself sitting on the floor with maps of Chattanooga surrounding her and eager ESL students “driving” toy cars along the maps following her directions.
There’s a young woman named Sarah who is a basketball coach for a college located in Chattanooga. She strives to also step into the students’ world by seeking to learn their first language in order to better communicate with and understand those whom she is helping to master the English language.
Two couples work together in the ESL ministry and bring a variety of experiences to the table. First, there’s Jeremiah and Amy. Jeremiah is from the U.S. while Amy is Chinese from Canada. They met while teaching English in China. They bring a sweet spirit and patience to their students, as well as a first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to live in a country not one’s own. The second couple is Becky and Carl, both from the U.S. They’ve lived almost 20 years in various European countries where they learned to teach ESL by jumping in with both feet and doing it! Becky teaches the most advanced class. Her students obviously love and respect her. They seemed willing to open up enthusiastically in conversation. Students also responded well to her leadership in the class. There are many other faithful teachers and staff at New City East Lake working tirelessly among the students. These are just a few of the ones we had the privilege to get to know during our visit.
One student also stood out to us as we had the privilege of engaging in extensive conversation with him. Ricardo is from Guatemala. He’s been in the U.S. some time now and working with a family member. He was very enthusiastic in class volunteering to answer questions and speak. After class he shared with us that his goal is to become an ESL teacher himself. He is working towards that goal by completing his high school education this year.
So, if you are near Chattanooga, Tennessee, or know of internationals moving to that area, I can highly recommend the ESL ministry at New City East Lake Church.
If your ministry is using Tried and True ESL Lessons or would like to know more about Tried and True ESL Lessons curriculum, contact us on the website and we’ll see about scheduling a visit.