One fantastic aspect of the TESOL program (and GSE for that matter) is that there is a lot of giving back to the community through service learning. There are many ties to different pockets of Philadelphia where we can give back to the people who make up this great city.
My Teaching L2 Writing class had a huge service learning component which was done at Moder Patshala. Moder Patshala is a place for Bangladeshi-American students to come after school for homework help, SAT prep, and adults can also come for ESL classes. It’s located in West Philly, not too far from GSE.
For our class, we had to participate in Homework Help and lead two Literacy Projects. For Homework Help, we would arrive around 4:30 and help kids in grades 1 – 12 with their homework. That included anything from English to Chemistry. We also had to create two Literacy Projects to do with the kids over the course of the semester. Above is a picture of me teaching one of my literacy projects. You can read more about what we did at Moder Patshala in this GSE News article (featuring a few quotes from me!).
I won’t lie – it was a lot of work. And there were definitely some challenging moments. But I am so glad that I was able to be a part of such a great organization. The Moder Patshala community was also very grateful for our help. So much so that they threw a banquet for us on Sunday night in Houston Hall. There was a ton of Bangladeshi food, socialization, and speeches. It made for a good time.
The students’ work was also displayed around the room. It was so great to walk around and see all of the different projects my classmates came up with, as well as what the students did.
Although there were definitely weeks when I felt like I was living at Moder Patshala, I am so glad that I was given the experience to work with the Bangladeshi community here in Philadelphia. Being able to volunteer and give back is something that is so incredibly important to me, and I will look back on these days at Moder Patshala with great fondness.