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This article posted on James Chane blogs, a great volunteer...|
Minnie is a petite 18-year-old girl who came to the English corner hoping to improve her English. She believes that English is her best chance to have a bright future. Minnie had only finished the 9th grade level in school. Unfortunately her parents could not afford to send her and her younger sister to high school or college. Minnie and her younger sister had migrated to Guangzhou nearly 2 years ago in hopes of finding work.
During the English corners, Minnie is quite shy. Sometimes it takes her awhile to speak a few words, and many times it's hard to hear her soft-spoken voice over the crowds of people. When Minnie would try to speak to me, most of the time she would be cut off by other students that were eager to talk. Sometimes I would have to tell the other students to quiet down, telling them Minnie is trying to say something. I noticed that Minnie would many times stand listening to me for about 2-hours. Then she would walk home about 25 minutes in the cold winter night.
As weeks had gone by, I realized that Minnie wasn't speaking much nor getting a chance to practice her English. I kind of felt bad that I didn't have much chance to talk to her, with the crowds of students always getting in the way. So I told her to meet me after she got off work at the university. I would practice English with just only her.
For the past 6 weeks each Monday evenings I help Minnie with her English. Even though I can tell Minnie has had a long day at work, and seeing her tiredness, she hasn't complained during the intense 2-hour English exercise I put her through. Up until 10 p.m. in one of the campus lobbies I will stay teaching Minnie, and then have to travel about an hour home taking 2 buses. I feel if she is willing to dedicate herself to studying English after a long days of work, then it is worth it for me to travel the long distance to teach her.
Minnie had told me quite often after our studies together how lucky she is to have a teacher like me, and that she doesn't know how she will ever repay me. I could tell by her voice she is quite sincere, and at times it brings a tear to my eyes. Sometimes I wish I could do more for her. I told Minnie I don't want any money from her and she doesn't ever have to repay me. I just hope that she could have a better chance in her life, and she could find a better job where she doesn't have to struggle so hard. Besides, I told her, " I am not your teacher, I am your friend!"
Written by James Chane
[ Last edited by Chinadolls at 2009-1-9 12:18 AM ]