Teaching English to refugees in Manchester
Amélie Latham shares with us some of the joys of Teaching English to refugees in Manchester. She has started teaching English at St. Mary’s Church in Sale (South Manchester) and talks about how she got involved in this form of outreach to her local community.
Hi Amélie, can you think back to what made you decide to become an English teacher?
I am already a teacher in Physical Education. When we heard many refugees from Ukraine were coming to Trafford, we decided to give them Welcome Boxes. From that first encounter and the follow up, many Ukrainians wanted to learn English. I was aware that many Hongkongers had arrived recently in the area, and they had the same. So, we started a conversation café team as a trial.
Sounds exciting. What course did you take with Christian TEFL and what was the most helpful thing you learned from the course?
I did the 10-hour Enter English course. The Associate Vicar at church had heard about it and forwarded the link to me. As I am not a TEFL trained teacher and I am French, I thought this was a good idea.
The course was great! I learnt a lot of practical tips to make the lessons more engaging. The grammar section was helpful and detailed. There are videos and examples which I thought were exactly what I would face in class. I also enjoyed the section which tells you that depending on where the student is from, they will find a particular point more challenging.
What is it about teaching in your location that you really enjoy?
I enjoy the smiley faces coming through the door and learning from different cultures. Most of the students live in the same town so it is easy to direct them to a specific place they need to go. We talk about schools, parks, shops. Some have arrived very recently so as well as learning English, they have little English.
Have you any advice to others about starting out as an English teacher, either in terms of finding work, volunteering, or training?
Being able to teach English is one thing but having a heart for people coming from different countries and wanting to help them settle the best way possible, is essential. Some students are in the UK because of a war in their country, others want a new life here for their family, they all have their unique journey. Finding people who welcome you and are there to help teaching you English, is filling a gap so they can communicate, have friends, have a job and settle in their new life, whether is short or long term.
We run eight-week courses and have just started our third one. There are four classes (different levels) and a conversation café, all running on Thursday morning. We have around 30 students and some come with their children. There is a team of five teachers and there is also a conversation café team on a rota. In December we organised a big social event of bring-and-share a dish from your country. It was fantastic!
Another time for the last lesson of the course, we played English learning games like describing objects from a card without saying them, a memory game with a runner and a writer, a minimal pair game. It was so fun because the teachers played a well. Everyone laughed a lot.
Thanks, Amélie, it’s great to hear about the work you are involved in.
Check out the course Amélie took with us and enrol while it is currently being offered free of charge >>