Over winter break I had the opportunity to assist a Spanish-speaking
student in my mother's first grade classroom. Our local school district
is rural and has very littlelanguage support. Anthony, the boy I worked
with had just come to Pennsylvania from Puerto Rico, and he knew very little
English. Translating for Anthony was very interesting because it was my
first experience speaking the language with a native speaker.
In the short time I worked with him, we both learned from each other.
He did not understand my mom at all, and he appreciated keeping up with
what the other studentswere doing and knowing that he could do as well
as the others. I enjoyed working with him because I actually got to use
Spanish outside of school, and it was great to be able to help get him
a good start in his new school.
Sara Moerschbacher 01
Mike Diehl 02 takes time out with some of his ESL students.
Many students at Muhlenberg participate in community service activities.
One activity that holds special appeal for students studying Spanish here
is teaching English as a Second Language to new and not-so-new immigrants
at the Hispanic American Organization. Each week, teams of Muhlenberg students
travel to the center in downtown Allentown, and teach ESL. The classes
last two hours and are held four nights a week. Each team of teachers volunteers
for just one week, because its a pretty intense week. Students plan, prepare,
and teach a complete unit. In addition to the rotating weekly teams, Dr.
Sutherland, along with her two student assistants, Ashley Kistler 00,
Kristy Reinert 02 (in the fall), and me, Mike Diehl 02 (in the spring)
go down every week to help the student teachers perform what can be an
There are two levels taught each semester. The beginner level focuses
on basic vocabulary and grammar skills, while the advanced level refines
grammar skills and focuses on American culture.
The experience educates both the Latino students and the Muhlenberg
students. Muhlenberg students get the opportunity to make lesson plans,
learn about Latino culture andlanguage, and maybe get a chance to taste
some new foods.
The program has been growing over the years, and the center has moved
into a newer, larger building just this past year. We are proud to know
were making a different for all parts of our community.
Mike Diehl, 02