Home tutoring is the best personal pick-me-up I can think of.
I am one of 47 Volunteer Home Tutors (VHTs), who are providing tuition to 74 learners, with English Language Partners (ELP) Porirua.
In all honesty, I sought this role out for my own personal gain. Languages and new people fascinate me, so I thought, “Here’s a chance to broaden my horizons and be useful at the same time”.
I completed the training, which defines the role, gives great overview of ESOL principals and also the boundaries that protect both tutor and learner. From there I went on to tutor Maung Lu and Paw Chit, from Myanmar, and have been working with them for 2 ½ years.
I worked with the family’s agenda – settling in and making NZ home – to find the most necessary and teachable topics – topics that relate to day to day life in their new country. Sitting in a former refugee’s home speaking English with them is one of the few opportunities they get to really practise English and make it their tongue. It is their chance to hear English tailored to their understanding and individual relevance. Many times my “English lesson” with them has included visiting best price shops, visiting health clinics and other appointments, phoning agencies, going for a swim or harvesting of bamboo shoots. I have done charades explaining the purpose for various different cleaning products and what settings on a washing machine mean. How else does one make sense of fabric conditioner?
Through these times we have become friends and they can trust me enough to hazard a conversation. It is amazing what sagas I have heard about and understood all conveyed in the first few 100 English words.
We do not have a set curriculum but adjust lessons to suit their needs, often assisting with homework from English classes. The teaching resources from the English Language Partners office are invaluable and the staff provide heaps of support.
It has been a fun time of discovery. I can be an immediate local friend for the new family as well as a language tutor, but I am sure I can never out give their generous spirit. Home tutoring is the best personal pick-me-up I can think of.
Sheryl Perera, Volunteer Home Tutor, Porirua