I have taught at Mid-State Literacy Council since 2019. I began teaching the “English for Doctor’s Visits” course and since then, have taught three other semesters. Throughout the two years, I have had the privilege of working with students from all over the world and provided for them an opportunity and space to enhance their language skills, while connecting them to the local community.
The most important lesson I have learned from my time teaching at Mid-State Literacy Council involves being accommodating to my students’ experiences. I learned that it is essential to support my students in reaching their goals by adapting to their capabilities and level. During my first semester teaching at Mid-State Literacy Council, I asked my students their goal for the “English for Doctor’s Visits” class, the students stated that their goal was to gain the skills needed to access healthcare and the vocabulary to speak with physicians and other healthcare workers. I began the course talking about “checking in” to appointments at a physician’s office. Once I started, I learned that many of my students were not comfortable making appointments for a doctor’s visit, to begin with. I then realized I needed to take a step back and learn my students’ current understanding. I realized that various barriers exist in healthcare and these needed to be recognized and addressed before speaking on how to communicate in a healthcare facility. In order to meet my students’ goals of healthcare access, I would need to start with how to make an appointment. I, along with my co-teachers, constructed lessons addressing making appointments, accessing insurance, and discussing symptoms. That semester, I focused on being accommodating to my students’ experiences in order to have them gain confidence and autonomy in the healthcare setting. I learned, through my students’ experiences, the many challenges that exist in healthcare access and information. This not only helped me construct lessons to meet their goals but gave me insight into how to communicate effectively as a future-physician.
My time at Mid-State Literacy Council involves a lot of learning and unlearning. I learned to be flexible with my lesson plans and address barriers that were found. I have learned so much about my students’ cultures and experiences through my lessons and it has been an honor doing so. I hope these lessons transition to my role as a future healthcare provider and community health advocate.