01 Jun Volunteer Feature: Liane Jagger, ESL Teacher
New Hope Volunteer Feature: Liane Jagger, ESL Teacher
A huge part of New Hope’s success is driven by its talented, giving volunteers. On a regular basis, volunteers help by serving community meals, leading homework club and craft club, doing custodial and building maintenance, and facilitating games nights. Around 30 volunteers serve on a weekly basis in addition to groups who come in for special events like movie nights and a bike fixing clinic. Last year alone New Hope had around 6,000 volunteer hours!
One of New Hope’s generous volunteers is Liane Jagger who teaches the women’s ESL class on Thursday mornings. Liane taught music and grade two for 20 years in Surrey, British Columbia. When she retired, she had an opportunity to teach music and drama at a Christian academy in Mozambique. The job of a lifetime, Liane taught there for two and a half years before coming back to Canada and volunteering with New Hope.
How did you get involved with New Hope?
When I came home from Mozambique in August 2017, I was looking for a new purpose going forward in my retirement. I enjoyed teaching and wanted to support new immigrants, so mutual friends put me in touch with a volunteer teacher at New Hope. She invited me to visit English classes at New Hope before Christmas, and I was hooked! In February, I took over the Thursday morning women’s English class.
What motivated you to volunteer with New Hope?
In addition to wanting to support new immigrants coming to Canada, I take great joy from helping people acquire language skills for speaking, reading and writing. I love to set learning goals and help students achieve them.
What makes volunteering at New Hope meaningful to you?
There have been many meaningful experiences while working at New Hope! I enjoy having tea with my ladies and meeting their families. It’s wonderful to meet grade four boys who make eye contact and shake hands like little adults. And I love the community dinners at New Hope where you get the chance to see the team in context.
What are some of the challenges or difficult aspects of your volunteer experience?
Sometimes it’s difficult when students have a wide variety of abilities. Giving everyone appropriate challenges and practice takes patient planning and a variety of activities. What I recognize about teaching is that so much of it comes from relationships. If I don’t understand what the students need to know, I am less effective as a teacher.
What has been your biggest accomplishment while volunteering at New Hope?
My biggest accomplishment will be when I feel like the curriculum meets the needs of our students in the short time we have to transition them. I’m still working on it!
New Hope is grateful for volunteers like Liane who help support and welcome immigrant and refugee families as they transition into life in Canada. Liane stands out because she goes above and beyond just teaching English. She has been embraced by the ladies into regular coffee visits and lunch meals. She has taken them on field trips to the beach and her home. When she had eye surgery, the ladies from her English class came to visit her at her home with home-cooked meals.
That’s one thing that’s special about the relationship between our New Hope volunteers and residents – once you’ve established initial contact as a safe person who’s willing to help, this place embraces you as part of the family.