Casa Marianella provides three levels of free English classes–beginning, intermediate, and advanced. ESL classes are available to both Casa residents and members of the community Monday-Thursday, 7:30-9:00 PM. Each term is ten-week long.
Our Teachers and Program
With an emphasis on creating hopeful, empowering, and encouraging environments and dynamic, interactive, and practical lessons, our 57 volunteer adult English as a Second Language teachers from this past year have played a significant role in Casa fulfilling its mission of providing hospitality to asylum-seekers and immigrants from around the world and helping them develop the skills and knowledge they need they start their new lives here.
In addition to preparing and teaching lessons four nights a week in three levels of classes, developing teaching skills though 14 hours of ESL instructor training, collaborating with colleagues at teacher meetings and planning sessions, and participating enthusiastically at Convívio and other Casa events, our teachers are beloved by all for their role in helping to create Casa’s warm, welcoming, close-knit community.
Many teachers, including our experienced Literacy First AmeriCorps volunteers, go on to other important community service careers such as teaching at public schools, working at Refugee Services of Texas or other nonprofits serving immigrants, volunteering with the Peace Corps, reporting on immigrant and refugee issues as journalists, making documentary films on refugee issues, and teaching abroad.
Some teachers, including Brooke Van Court and Rose Miller, have joined our full-time staff! The service and support of staffers Brooke, Julia Stone, and Livi Raggio as staff ESL Liaisons have been crucial to our success. In addition to teaching weekly, Sonia Singh and Ashley Davis are also our media directors and have developed our new website, social media presence, and fundraising opportunities.
Psychotherapist Kay Mailander of Refugee Services of Texas teaches a special weekly course on psycho-social/cultural topics such as cultural shock & adjustment, addiction & recovery, responding to stress and anxiety triggers, US law, and more. She’s invited guest speakers on LGBTQ rights, immigration law, and human trafficking and invites RST social work interns to work with her class.
We’ve also had special ESL events such as Improv Comedy Night, Show & Tell Night, Brazilian Drumming Night with staffer Melissa Buhrt, and pronunciation clinics. Other guest speakers have included Abby Frank, senior attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project and Casa board member.