My family immigrated from China to the United States in 2008. We had stepped off the plane knowing almost next to nothing about the American culture and language. Now, I am fluent in English and am somewhat knowledgeable about the American culture, and my parents’ knowledge of English had increased dramatically. How were we able to improve? This was because of the two [RT] home-based tutors that we have, and they’ve changed our lives.
We met Marissa, the tutor for my parents, six years ago. Our family’s first impression of Marissa was that she was very nice and patient. “She always has a smile on her face,” my mom commented after our first meeting. She is now a very close family friend, and we could talk about anything with her. Marissa was patient when explaining things to my parents, and she tries different ways of explaining until my parents understand fully. Marissa was instrumental in the improvement of my parents’ English; my mom could understand about 70% of things we say in English, and my father’s English oral skills improved too. My mom went from the most basic English class in City College to level five class. Marissa helped my father prepare for his job interview, and my father’s interview was successful. She helped me tremendously when I was completing my high school applications. Because of her help with my applications, I was accepted with lots of scholarship to a prestigious private high school. Through Marissa, we learned a lot more about the American culture, and it became easier for me to fit in with my friends. We often consulted her for advice on what was appropriate for different situations in America, and we often found her advice to be very helpful.
Deborah tutored me for about two years. Every meeting, she gave me worksheets that targeted my weak areas and strengthened my strong points. Soon, with her help, I went from an ESL student to being in the GATE program in my third year in the US. My progress was very rapid. I learned the materials needed for my grade level, which was fourth grade, and began to move on to the more challenging fifth grade level. This was all possible because of Deborah. She always came prepared with lots of assignments that pushed and challenged me, assignments that helped me grew as a learner.
Thank you, Refugee Transitions, for these two home based tutors. Because of them, our lives were changed for the better. More doors were opened to us, and more opportunities were presented for us to pursue.