I'm taking an Intercultural Communications class this semester. It's my next-to-last class before I complete my graduate work. Anyway, at the beginning of the semester my class instructor gave a syllabus with all the course requirements and assignments. Aside from a 10-page paper on the cultural group of my choice, a 25-page paper detailing an original research project based on how different cultures handle "saving face" during conflict, and several tests, we were also required to complete a minimum of 15 hours of service where we interacted with people from a cultural group different from our own.
Overwhelmed? Just a little.
But as soon as I left class that first day, I began to work on little parts of the assignments and I feel pretty confident that I'll be ok by the end of the semester. One thing I did to begin working on completing my assignments was call our WMU director at church. I knew that our church has an inner-city mission and I thought maybe that could be my service project. But then she mentioned the English-as-a-Second-Language classes that are offered at our church. The day and time of the classes fit perfectly into my schedule and I began to attend them once a week. I was asked to be a conversational partner in the entry level class. That was some time in January. Now, here we were today.
Aren't those ladies beautiful? I have enjoyed them so much. I've told them that each week how I look forward to coming to see them because they make me smile. Many of them are just beginning to learn English. And I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous. So, we have a lot of fun trying to understand each other. We laugh a lot.
Today was my last day with them. At least, it was my last day with these ladies in the beginner class. I was sad and teared up a little. The lady who is the teacher for the class cried as well. The ladies in the class joked with me and told me I couldn't leave. But, I tried to tell them why I was leaving them.
Last week, the lady who is over the program called me and asked if I'd teach one of the classes. The next level class above these ladies actually. There are 4 or 5 students in the class. I've taught before, at the college level. I have a background in communications. And I feel like each week that I spend with these ladies is like going on a little mission trip without even leaving Mississippi. So, I said yes. And I'm pretty excited about it.