The Journey Of An ESL Teacher, Both New And Seasoned. Contributed by Kara (CESLM first-time attendee) and Sylvia (SOCEM long-time attendee)

The Backstory. The beginnings of this connection story came about on Saturday, March 16th at the CESLM-SOCEM Annual Spring Training event. During the break between sessions at Fairview Baptist Church, our onsite location, Kara, a first-time attendee to our event chatted with a few board and staff members about how she heard about our event.

A few days later, emails between CESLM and SOCEM revealed how Kara’s story encouraged both CESLM and SOCEM board, staff and volunteers that collaborating to help churches reach out to new Canadians was connecting people across Canada and making a difference in the lives of new Canadians. So, we asked Kara and Sylvia to share their story.

Kara’s Story, a new ESL teacher. “As a homeschooling mom, brand new to teaching ESL, I was delighted when a friend offered to put me in touch with her mother-in-law in Ontario who was willing to share her knowledge of more than 40 years experience teaching ESL. One of the first things she sent to me was information about an upcoming SOCEM event. Persuaded by her extensive knowledge and heart for newcomers to Canada, I registered right away. Sylvia and I later met in person when she was visiting family here in Calgary. Later, we laughed that this event (the CESLM-SOCEM Annual Spring Training Event) was the same one she recommended in the Toronto area, with the onsite event just mere blocks from my home here in Calgary. She then showered me with resources, practical guidelines and encouragement to persevere through this learning curve, sharing evidence of lives she had seen changed during her time teaching ESL. The CESLM event was a continuation of this encouragement for me. The vision for the potential to reach and teach new Canadians was beautifully cast, making it a thrill to be linked with such a unique community committed to ministering to the nations right here on our doorstep in Canada. I enjoyed all the people I met there and left knowing I was not alone in this important endeavor. How amazing it is to share this work with others across our nation!”

Sylvia’s Story, a seasoned ESL teacher. “I am a 40-year veteran of teaching and using ESL mostly in the GTAToronto area, but also in a few countries where I’ve had the privilege to live and work. I’ve taught ESL in the Adult education sector and several church-led programs. I love the ESL community and love sharing ideas and techniques with others. It is a wonderful tool for evangelism. My daughter-in-law recently moved to Calgary where she met a new ESL-er, Kara, and introduced us by email. As I’ve been a long-time supporter of newcomers to the field, we quickly bonded and met in person as I was visiting my family soon after. One of the first connections I made for Kara was with SOCEM. I’ve been receiving their information and attended in-person and online courses over the years from its inception. I didn’t realize there was an active ESL ministries group in the Calgary area. I was happy to learn that Kara attended a seminar soon after. I’ll have a new adventure this spring as I travel to North Africa and visit a friend at an ESL school there. Maybe I’ll get to do an English lesson too! Of course, this friend also knows about SOCEM.”


We hope you will be both inspired and encouraged as you welcome new Canadians in your classes and as you connect and collaborate with other like-minded ESL teachers. May God bless you as you serve new Canadians.

Thanks to both Kara and Sylvia for allowing us to share their inspirational story of serving through ESL ministry in the local church.

If you have a story to share, please contact We look forward to hearing from you.