DISTANCE IS NOT A PROBLEM
by Peter, 84-year-old retiree from Singapore.
As a retiree, God has blessed me with time. So, I want to use this time effectively. In 2021, I volunteered to be an English tutor to a St Paul Methodist School student in the Digital Tuition Programme. I wanted my student to fall in love with the language so she would devote her time in studying to improve and achieve excellence in mastering the language. I was assigned Thyara, a 14-year-old Grade 9 girl. I was blessed to have a smart and motivated student, whom I met once a week over Zoom. As part of our English lessons, we would study the Bible to help Thyara better understand the Christian way of life, and grow spiritually to understand the teachings of Christ. We had completed the books of Ruth and Esther. In addition, I would use YouTube to introduce some English classics such as Robinson Crusoe, The Secret Garden, and Gulliver's travels. From time to time, we would discuss important English idioms, common proverbs, and some phrasal verbs.
In March 2022, I was blessed to go on a personal mission trip to Batam where I decided to take under my wings Efsa, the daughter of a pastor. So now, I teach two students simultaneously, one in Timor-Leste and another in Indonesia. I meet them every Sunday at 4pm, and I also welcome adult students from another class to join them for more exposure and interactions in English. In addition to English speaking and writing skills, I have decided to help them prepare for IELTS examinations, an international test of English language proficiency, which will be useful if the girls want to apply to study overseas.
When Thyara's mother, Ana Paula Marcal, learnt that I was preparing her daughter for IELTS, she decided to join us! She can check in on her daughter and learn at the same time! What a wonderful way of reaching out to the family!
Our format for lessons is very simple: we open with prayer for wisdom. We discuss the four skills: writing, reading, listening, and speaking. Because of time constraints, we will only discuss one or two skills per session. Each student is to submit a short essay every week. After reading a passage on a topic, for instance, "The Importance of English", I would ask the student to write a 200-word essay on "Why I want to learn English".
Every session includes vocabulary building, constructing sentences, and pronunciation (American). If time permits, we will read an article or a story. So far, my students have not complained about the workload. Our objective is to improve their skills slowly, steadily, but surely.
I thank God for the opportunity to tutor and mentor these girls, and even to get to know their families. May God bless our time together, and enable the girls to grow in wisdom to be a blessing to their communities.
1. Pray for the tutors and students in the SPMS Digital Tuition Programme. May the lessons be fruitful with exposure to the wider world and mentoring by the Christian tutors.
2. Pray for more volunteers who can tutor English and Math or teach a skill like dance or art over Zoom.
3. Pray for God to bless the volunteers and mission fields with creative ways to minister to the people and witness to the community.
🙏 Pray for the writer and his/her ministry.
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