This week, we’re chatting with the kind, smart and always friendly Namitha, a former ESL teacher at Casa Marianella. Namitha is now on her way to becoming a PA, her lifelong dream! Namitha’s passion is medicine and helping those in need. We miss Namitha dearly, but we’re catching up with her this week to hear about her memories teaching ESL at Casa Marianella!

How Did you Hear About Casa Marianella?

I first heard about Casa Marianella through two of my good friends who had initially volunteered for the food shift, cooking dinner for the residents. They were about to start volunteering as ESL teachers and asked if I wanted to join. After learning more about the services that Casa provides to homeless immigrants, and after speaking with the ESL volunteer coordinator, I immediately wanted to help out as well. My friends and I attended orientation and began teaching there the following week. I ended up volunteering there for over 2 years, and if I hadn’t moved out of state, I’d definitely still be there!

What are Some of Your Favorite Memories at Casa?

My favorite memories at Casa are from the show and tell nights that were held for the residents. Volunteers and staff became students for a night, and were given the opportunity to learn about the various countries and cultures of our students. Many were nervous at first to speak in English in front of everyone, but once the students started talking about their families, professions or hobbies from back home, they just lit up in a way that teachers never got to see in class. Students would often sing, dance, show photos or just share their favorite memories. There was so much love and support for one another. Those nights were always so special.

What was the Biggest Challenge of Teaching at Casa?

For me, I think the biggest challenge of teaching at Casa was maintaining the patience and dedication necessary to teach students from such diverse backgrounds. It was tough trying to teach students who were all older than me, who all spoke different languages and who all had varying degrees of English proficiency. With the grammatical rules of English being quite inconsistent, the students would sometimes get frustrated and discouraged. Having co-teachers who were wonderfully supportive and positive made all the difference in the world. We lifted each other up and tried our best to maintain a fun and encouraging environment for everyone.
photo credit: ESL Coordinator
We miss you, Namitha! Thank you for your dedication to Casa Marianella.