Today was our first day of school! DeeAnn is teaching English and I am teaching personal finance.
These Afghani boys are absolutely amazing! They are 14 and 15 years old and are alone in Jakarta with no family and live in a refugee shelter. They receive about $60 per month to live on and that has to cover their food, clothes and everything else. Their English is surprisingly good and they are an inspiration. I don’t think I know ANY 14 year old American boys who would survive if they had to go to a new country by themselves, not speak the language, have no family and not be able to go to school or work and have basically nothing to do.
I taught three personal finance classes and one “supposed” English class when the teacher didn’t show up. I say supposed, because in going through the manual five minutes before class, page one was covering third person irregular verbs, continual …..holy mackerel, I had trouble with that when I was supposed to learn it in eighth grade – how in the world am I supposed to teach it now?! So I talked about the same thing as my other classes!
In each class, we talked about jobs , money, careers , etc. It was so interesting to hear of their dreams and hopes for their lives and future. Even in this tough situation as refugees or asylum seekers (who are not even refugees yet), when they have very little money, they cannot work, they are in dismal living conditions, and many have no family and there is very little to look forward to except more waiting, these kids have hopes and dreams. They want to be designers, engineers, teachers, musicians, artists and everything in between. I tried to emphasize that the key to their goals is education and the key to education is learning English. They WILL go somewhere eventually and when they arrive in their new country, they need to be ready to start their formal education but it is paramount they know English. And they are here because they want to learn. People in Jakarta pay a lot of money to go to English school and the refugees have free English classes available to them. If they do not use the time they are waiting to avail themselves of these free English classes, then they have no one to blame but themselves. And we, in our VERY limited ability to teach a difficult language, will try and help.