The ISM English Summer School ProgramYou know when you're about to take on something new, a really big challenge in your life… and you're not quite sure how it's all going to work out... And then people begin to encourage you, saying "we can do it"... "we can make it happen!" and more people start doing the same. That is the feeling we had when this project began back in March 2012.
I'm happy to say now that, because of the enthusiasm of ISM students, we did it! We made it happen, and we made a difference!
The English Summer School Program ran for 3 weeks, from April 30th to May 18th 2012. We taught 56 Burmese children ages 7 to 13. Over 200 ISM students and teachers were involved, making us a huge team of English teachers.
The great thing about this program was how many different groups of people from both ISM and our local community were invovled. Included were the ISM 6th and 7th grade advisory and health classes; the Community Service Club which has ISM students ranging from 6th grade all the way up to 12th grade; teachers from the elementary and middle school; administrators supporting us along the way; and there were teachers and the principal from the Burmese school who backed up our efforts everyday throughout the 3 week program. Plus, of course, the 56 Burmese students who were ready and willing to learn English with a lot of enthusiasm!
ISM students came to understand that,
although the Burmese students do learn some English in school, they hardly ever have a chance to practice it. This understanding helped us prepare lessons that focussed on the Burmese students acting, playing with, practicing, and speaking the language.
This, of course, was a challenge for ISM students who, for the most part, had never taught English a day in their life! It was sort of scary for some of us, especially in the beginning. To overcome this fear, we prepared and practiced our lessons ahead of time. And, as the Summer School program progressed, ISM students began expressing their excitement and joy with the program, saying things like, "When can we do this again?" and "Can we continue this program next school year?"
It was surprising to see how much the Burmese students learned during these three weeks of daily practice. At the end they all shared their gratitude and we celebrated together with a "graduation" ceremony and an ice cream party. Many of the Burmese parents and families showed up to share in the celebration of our accomplishments during those three weeks. We now feel much closer with our local community, and a feeling of friendship and respect is growing between ISM students and the Burmese school children. What a wonderful bonding experience this was. Together we proved that when we put our hearts and minds into making a positive difference in the world, the results can be life changing!
ISM Community Service would like to express our gratitude to everyone who was involved in this program. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Let's keep it going, keep reaching out, keep giving, and keep doing community service as much as we can so we can continue to truly make a difference!
By Mr. Todd