JOPLIN, MO.--- The Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action, or NALA, organization has seen an increase in students for the last few months. Staff are especially looking for more volunteers to teach English as a second language.
"We have all kinds of needs. Both for one on one, and for classes," said Marj Boudreaux, Director of Joplin NALA Read.
To become an ESL volunteer, only a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Employees promise teaching English to foreign students is not as difficult as it may seem. The Joplin NALA Read Program even provides basic training before volunteers begin teaching students.
"People feel intimidated, and think maybe they couldn't do it. And actually, we think we can help them know how to teach English as a second language," said Boudreaux.
Volunteers teach ESL classes by reading newspapers and writing sentences that relate to current events about everyday life.
"It's things in the news nationally, internationally, and the content is more to of an interest level for them, and then we can develop the vocabulary from that," said Phyllis Chancellor, ESL Volunteer Teacher
Current ESL volunteers at NALA say being able to teach someone who, at first, doesn't understand a word of English, and then eventually becomes fluent, is rewarding. The experience also gives volunteers the opportunity to become more well-rounded.
"I enjoy learning about the different cultures, learning their backgrounds. I've made some good friendships besides being their teacher. You know I just enjoy, it's another way of helping," said Chancellor.
One student says after moving to Joplin from Russia 13 years ago, she was frustrated and embarrassed when she couldn't understand English.
"It feels so embarrassing and not happy, but teachers so friendly and they just tried to help us as much as they can," said Victoria Timochcenko, NALA Read Student.
She says after receiving help from the teachers at nala read she is more comfortable talking to customers at her alterations business.
"People come to my shop and we speak sometimes. The American people like to speak. And always ask me different questions about Russia, about my life here," said Timochcenko.
Although there is a need for ESL teachers at Joplin NALA Read, the organization still encourages students to take the free classes offered. Those interested in teaching English as a second language can call the Joplin NALA Read Office at (417) 782- 2646.