Recently I started volunteering at a non-profit agency as an ESL (English as Second Language) tutor helping low-income adults develop their English skills. This is a free service to them. As part of the tutor training, I am learning strategies and methods for teaching adults with limited English skills.

The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Many, however, do not have the ability to speak and write English. This makes it very difficult for them to assimilate and contribute. Some of them are highly educated in their own native language..

I know of someone who is an engineer and another person who holds a PhD. The engineer is working part-time as a delivery truck driver, as he is not able to get suitable employment opportunities that match his skills. This is mainly because of his limited English-speaking ability.

Recently, I was asked to help out a young lady with English language skills.  She has a small child, and she seems determined to succeed. I am happy I am able to allocate some time to help her out. My hope is that she benefits from the tutoring.

This brings back memories of the time when my husband and I came to the United States years back as students. It was a tough time for us as we had to succeed on our own with very little support. But looking back, our struggles were minimal compared to the immigrants who cannot speak the English language. We’ve been fortunate – we always had our choice of good jobs.

As Hellen Keller has rightly said, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Sometimes we think our own problems are monumental – until we meet someone who is much worse off than us. It then forces us to see life through their eyes. We should be thankful that we have food, clothing and shelter available and so much more. Let’s count our blessings.

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