As a student attending Shanghai American School (SAS), I believe we have a lot to be grateful for, such as the high level of education we receive among state-of-the-art facilities. With this in mind, myself and other students at SAS volunteer with the English Service Project (ESP), a student-founded club that aims to give back to the broader SAS community.
While we go about our days on campus, there is an essential group of support staff whose contribution to the school can go unacknowledged. I refer to the SAS security guards, cleaners and bus monitors who work tirelessly behind the scenes to run the facilities that students and faculty rely on.
Many of these workers possess limited English skills, which is what prompted the creation of ESP. The members of the project team volunteer their time by gathering the school's support staff and teaching them English during lunch breaks.
Stepping into our ESP classroom during a session is like entering a hub of passion.
The ESP members are surrounded by their eager students, holding donated notebooks ready to learn. Together, they enunciate difficult words, often with the help of comical hand gestures. Laughter fills the air, and the enthusiasm in the classroom shines through in both teachers and students. We also place importance on appropriately challenging those who enter the classroom by adjusting the curriculum to suit each student's needs.
SAS students may sometimes take what they have for granted, so ESP is an opportunity for us to gain perspective on how fortunate we are. With this project, we can appreciate the importance of the tireless work others do to make their imprint on society. With ESP we have taken the time to give back, and spreading the gift of literacy is one of the simplest yet most thoughtful ways to do this.
[Images via Shanghai American School]
Charlotte Wu is a sophomore student at Shanghai American School who volunteers with fellow English Service Project members Carole Yu, Qinyi Ma, Elaine Su, Lydia Ying and Sally Seo.