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Teacher Feature: Ralph

October 15, 2021

This article is part of a series of posts highlighting our community of teachers around the world. We hope you find their stories interesting and inspiring!

Twenty-one years ago, Ralph’s church heard about a community in Ružomberok, Slovakia that wished for their children to learn English. Ralph’s church wanted to help. That summer, they taught 30 children at their first of many English Camps.

“We had no idea what we were doing, but through trial and error we began learning how to improve our English classes.”

Since then, they’ve grown quite a bit. They now have about 125 students from ages seven to 15 each summer, and they have added an adult class.

“Since 2000, we have had over 200 American volunteers teach English in Slovakia.”

In 2009, Ralph took his English-teaching experience and went to China for two weeks. He taught both baseball and English to university students in Nanjing.

“I brought over 50 baseball gloves and some baseballs and bats with me. We had fun learning new words and phrases in baseball language. It was great fun just being with them!”

Ralph with university baseball team in Nanjing China

Here, Ralph is pictured with his class in Nanjing.

In 2015, Ralph’s teaching expanded even more when his church began providing conversational English classes to international students attending Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Providing English classes for these international students has become my great joy! The opportunity to meet students from all over the world and to help them build a community with Americans and other international students is so rewarding!”

Ralph with class of doctors and scientists wanting to improve their conversational english

Here, Ralph is pictured with his Sunday morning English class.

Over the past few years, Ralph has relied heavily on ESL Library when teaching his international students.

“The lessons are well organized and offer a variety of current issues and topics. I feel like I learn much from the lesson topics as I teach the lessons to international students. ESL Library offers lessons that are adaptable to almost any situation and are applicable for students at different English levels. They are fun to use!”

Ralph at a meal with students

Here, two of Ralph’s students are pictured holding ESL Library materials.

Check out Ralph’s video response below to learn more about why he loves ESL Library and how he uses it with his students.

In the future, Ralph hopes to teach in Slovakia again. He’s also exploring the possibility of teaching English in a refugee camp.

“Many people in our world live in hopeless conditions. Doing something as simple as helping them learn English can give them a sense of hope!”

Want to share why you love ESL Library and how you use it in your classroom? Tell us here.

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