State High International Students In The ESL Class ft. Melissa MacNeely
State High International Students In The ESL Class ft. Melissa MacNeely
Sorour Behroozi

From Language Learning to Cultural Exchange

The Story of ESL Teachers and Students

In today’s increasingly globalized world, diversity in schools has become more prevalent. One of the areas where this diversity shines is in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. These classes not only serve as a bridge for students to learn English but also foster a sense of community and understanding among learners from various cultural backgrounds.

ESL classes provide a safe and supportive environment for students who are navigating the complexities of learning a new language while adjusting to a new culture. The classes provide both an enriching experience, but also works through the multiple challenges faced within the classroom. 

Andrew Wilson, a seasoned ESL teacher with 27 years of experience, shared his perspective on the transformative nature of ESL education. “I have the best job in the school district. Because I get to meet people from all over the world who arrive here in this tiny little town […] and I get to help them find their way through what can be a difficult period of time.”

Mellisa MacNeely, who transitioned from teaching Spanish to ESL, emphasized the importance of connecting with English language learners. “Everyone comes from a unique background and perspective. So I’m always here to welcome people. That’s one of my favorite parts of my job – I’m often the first person people get to meet, and I like meeting new people,” she said. 

MacNeely reflected on her journey in ESL education. “I started teaching ESL probably until about six years ago […]. I realized that I really liked teaching ESL and I loved working with English language learners. So that was something that I wanted to try to prioritize.”

ESL classes offer opportunities for students to engage in extracurricular activities that celebrate diversity. Initiatives like World Cafe, spearheaded by passionate ESL teachers, create platforms for students to share their cultural backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. These events foster cross-cultural understanding and promote inclusivity within school communities.

Sophomore Renad Alnazar described her ESL experience. “It was a nice experience because there was a community with different international students.”

Renad’s first language is Arabic and according to her, being in ESL was really helpful for her to learn english “They really make you feel welcome.”

When coming to a new country most students might feel out of place and alone sometimes. In ESL, teachers provide a safe environment for everyone. Renad said  “I was nervous because it was a big school and I wasn’t used to it.”

The impact of ESL classes extends beyond language acquisition; it touches the lives of students in profound ways. Teachers recount heartwarming stories of witnessing students’ growth and accomplishments throughout their academic journey.

ESL classes play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect within educational institutions. Through the dedication of passionate teachers like Andy Wilson, Linda Barton, and the resilience of students, ESL classrooms serve as vibrant hubs of cultural exchange and academic excellence. As the school continue to embrace diversity in the communities,   ESL education contributes invaluable experiences in shaping the future generation of global citizens.

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