Our Palmerston North centre sadly farewells ESOL Home Tutor Jackie Sayers at the end of last year. Jackie has been a wonderful volunteer for English Language Partners, helping former refugees and migrants improve their English and feel at home in Aotearoa for more than 10 years. We hope you feel inspired reading her story!
Jackie: “I’m unsure when I started volunteering as an ‘English as a second language’ home tutor. It may have been about 2007. I had no experience teaching English in any form but plenty of experience in working in education with adult learners.
I first heard about English Language Partners (ELP), then with a different name, when I saw an advert in the local Feilding free paper for volunteers. ELP has given me the opportunity to meet and get to know people, both learners and tutors, from a wide range of cultures, languages and religions. These include people from India, China, Philippines, Cambodia, Egypt, South Africa, Germany, France, Columbia, Africa, Bhutan, Nepal, Fiji, Japan, Holland, Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine and Hungary that I can recall. And this is in small town New Zealand! Of course I also met Kiwis! My trips to Palmerston North to the mother office for committee meetings, and shared events, introduced me to Afghani and Myanmar refugees.
I don’t recall how long it took me to get hooked but probably not more than half an hour. I have been hooked ever since. I have been a home tutor for all of that time and but also spent a number of years assisting with the Literacy and Conversation classes. I also served on the local committee.
My experience with ELP had been a two-way process as I have helped learners to learn the intricacies of New Zealand English and they have taught me about their language and culture. I have also learnt a lot about the English language. It has made me realise, as an immigrant myself, that it is not enough to see English in New Zealand without its co-partner te reo Maori. We too need to become bi-lingual.
I have had a wonderful time as a volunteer for ELP and it’s with reluctance but necessity that I step down this year. However I do know that while I won’t have any learners as such I do I have a lot of friends!”
If you would like to become an ELP volunteer and join our team of ESOL home tutors, please get in touch.