TBC ESL Ministry
Information on how to contact the ESL ministry as well as various contact email forms are available in this section.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that have been asked to the ESL. This will be a continually evolving page as there are many questions that we need to put together logically-thought-out answers for. (Please note that this section will not be translated into Chinese as this page will change too much.)
- How to best improve your English?
- use it constantly, as much as possible, for extended periods of time
- practice with native speakers, if possible
- get used to thinking in English
- watch English TV
- How can I learn "perfect" English!
- What is "perfect" English? British English, American English, Canadian English, Texas English, New York English, etc.? Even if you learn perfect British English, Americans will think you speak funny, and visa versa. Our best advice is to first concentrate on learning to effectively communicate your ideas in English. If you wish to go further, then consider which style you want to use, but always remember that no matter what, even native English-speakers aren't considered "perfect" in other places, too.
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- Why don't we provide honorariums to our ESL teachers?
- Difficult question.
- We don't charge much, so honorariums would be a signficant financial burden.
- If we gave to the teachers, why not the office staff? How about the tea time servers? How about the substitute teachers? There is a huge list of volunteers that send significant amounts of time and effort to support ESL.
- To be more equitable, we invite all the staff out for an appreciation lunch at a restaurant. This fairly thanks everyone and promotes fellowship between the staff.
- Why don't you charge more?
- We aren't running a business; we are doing a ministry for God.
- We want to encourage people to come and learn, and not be over-burdened by financial concerns.
- We are getting enough to cover our expenses and help the church keep up its facilities.
- Even though the cost has been about the same for ~30 years, we're still doing okay with strict financial management.
- Some students also contribute extra funds on top of the registration fees, which helps.
- Why Don't you charge less/free?
- We want the students to take the classes seriously.
- If it was free, we would have a lot more absentee-isms.
- Why can I pay be credit card?
- Costs too much for us. We don't earn much and the potential theft of credit card machines is troubling. Also, the internet at the church is not reliable.
- Why can't you promote someone's business?
- This is a potentially dangerous issue.
- The ESL staff is considered to be in a position of authority. By promoting, it could be viewed as unduly influencing the students who are at a lower position of authority. So, it may make the students feel as if we are pushing the students to do buy or do something. Also, the students may feel unable to complain or refuse prevent loss of face of the staff.
- Similarly, we can't have a student promote their business by announcing publicly to an entire class or assembly as it could be perceived as supported by the ESL ministry/staff, thus creating the feeling of pushing the students to do/buy something.
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- Why can't we add more students to class?
- fire safety
- air quality
- teacher restrictions
- fellow students' complaints on over-crowding
- decline in effectively student-teacher interactions with too many students
- Why don't you have night classes?
- Not enough teachers (need Beg, Int, Adv)
- Not enough office volunteers (at least 1 for whole term, not part-time)
- Not enough student demand (need at least 6-8 per class to make it worthwhile)
- Why don't you have more classes on other days?
- Difficult on the church staff as they are trying to doing work on the other days.
- Not enough helpers to support classes on other days.
- Want to have the classes on the same days to allow for better intermingling of students and offer diverse services at the same time.
- Why don't you have classes on Saturdays?
- Not enough student interest.
- Potential students tend to have time on the weekdays when their kids are at school. On Saturdays, they have to take care of kids, so no time for ESL.
- Why don't you have classes in the summer?
- We need to rest.
- The church gets very hot in the summer (no air conditioning).
- Students' children are out of school, so they have to take care of them. Attendance will be very low.
- Why don't you have classes in December?
- Attendance significant drops in December. Many students go away for travel or have to look after their kids when they are out of school.
- Why do you teach the bible in the ESL classes?
- This is an ESL Ministry. The purpose of the ministry is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we didn't teach about Jesus, we wouldn't have a reason to teach ESL as there are many other secular places that teach ESL.
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- Why doesn't the website allow online registration for in-person classes?
- The ESL has a very limited budget and the church has a somewhat unreliable network.
- The number of computer-literate ESL volunteers is quite low.
- There would be potential confusion between paper registrations and online registrations if paperwork is not kept constantly up-to-date.
- Security at the church isn't 100%, so essential computer equipment could be stolen which could in turn potentially cripple ESL day-to-day operations, if we did allow this system.
- Why don't you have online payment for online classes?
- Our community bank account doesn't allow for online payment. We considered doing it through a personal account, but trust issues could arise, so we don't want to mess with that.
- Too technical. We have lots of turnaround of our volunteers, so it would be difficult to continually train the staff on this.
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If you have questions or comments, please contact us through our General Contact form.