True to “real world” (aka non-college; don’t want to disparage the work we’re doing) work, even though we’re on vacation, people like our community partner are still working. There have been some new developments at EFA which have thrown us off a little and we can’t wait until we’re back at PC to make a decision: EFA needs to know by January 7th. Complicating things a little more, 3/5 edugirls will be traveling leading up to January 7, so we have to decide without being sure of consensus. To anyone gracious enough to read this over break, please help!
Rather than the newsletter idea that we were excited about, EFA changed directions and now wants the class that we would be working with to focus on budgeting (learning how to, sharing experiences on it, doing fundraising for EFA, and ending with actually making decisions about how EFA should spend some of its funds) . I’m pulling from our facebook discussions to compile our thoughts on it so far.
- Budgeting is a very “real” topic that could make for meaningful discussions in class.
- Would force us to be really creative with our visual activism.
- In theory, we would have more time to prepare for the class (important for our time constraints), knowing ahead of time that we would be focusing on budgeting, as opposed to other ESOL classes where the theme emerges during the semester.
- For our personal knowledge, budgeting would be good to know.
- The time commitment is still pretty huge, even splitting 8 hours of class a week between the five of us (it would be ideal if we never had to facilitate class alone). There are also required trainings every 3 weeks.
- We have maybe one car between the five of us, plus one person authorized to drive a PC van (side note: it is SUPER easy to get certified, it’s just an application and a quiz. It’s also possible to make sure we have a van reserved for us everyday as long as we put in a reservation for the semester).
- Given our course loads and that it’s our last semester, all of the work aside from the class sessions would be pretty considerable too.
Kim, who we’ve been in contact with at EFA, sent us a very long, encouraging email after we first expressed our concerns. She explained that at the initial two-day training we would be getting a lot of tools to help us succeed in teaching the language. She also made a really good point that in a participatory classroom, we don’t have to know everything. Lynnzie had pointed out that as college students, we have absolutely no idea what it’s like to budget for a family, but Kim didn’t seem to think that was an issue. She said she appreciated our concern for the learners’ and EFA’s success, but not to worry too much, that it didn’t have to be a college level financial course (I don’t think that was ever a concern for us, though). She also provided a lot of resources that could be helpful as starting points as we get going. She outlined the goals like this:
Goals for the learners are:
- Gaining newfound skills and understanding for personal management of finances and empowering them to make personal decisions around their finances and future
- Understanding personal skills and goal setting for gaining new skills
- Understanding budgets as value-oriented documents/plans
Goals for PC students:
- Understanding the realities of learner/immigrant population, inequalities of income, things that we take for granted/don’t see or experience; and critically thinking about how this learning goes into curriculum and lesson design
- Helping learners with critically understanding their potential, but also working to change the real barriers to blossoming further in career and life goals (working for drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants & for comprehensive immigration reform)
- Meeting challenges in an area they might not be as familiar with, which will transfer to the real world
The alternative is that we would all be divided among different ESOL classes of different levels and we wouldn’t be working with the same group. She didn’t say anything about other opportunities within EFA, but we could try that and see what happens too.
My take on it is that it would still be a really valuable experience. The idea for us is that we learn to work/facilitate in a popular education setting, I think. It sounds like we’ll have a lot of support from EFA and us being able to work in the same classroom is really important I think. Lesson planning does take some work, but it would’ve taken work whether we were doing budgeting or the newsletter idea, so in that sense nothing has changed in term of a time commitment. Working on something we’re not familiar with could be really humbling and force us to be more creative, which would help us learn a lot. We can figure out the transportation thing–like I said, the vans are REALLY easy to be certified for, and Sharron can drive too, right? Haha. However, this is only my opinion and feelings of resentment about the commitment will make this a looooong semester. I want something we can all be excited about, and even if we have some reservations, know that together we can help each other out.
Hellooooo Capstone, anyone out there?