The Women’s Building is saddened to have to say farewell to our dynamic ESL Program instructor, Jeff McClelland, but we would first like to recognize and thank him for his valuable contributions to this program!
A community activist prior to being an adult ESL instructor, Jeff brought into the classroom a vision and approach to teaching that was rooted in organizing and supported the missions of TWB and Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA); a mission grounded in women’s leadership and social justice.
During his time at TWB, Jeff helped cultivate an ESL course that is tailored to the unique lives and needs of students. In this sense, it is unlike many others. Jeff states: “Many programs integrate college preparation or job training into their ESL classes, but these classes are not well-suited for many of our students who don’t have work papers or a secondary education.”
Collaborating with TWB and MUA, Jeff helped create a course that encourages students to take ownership of the class and their own learning, to be participants in helping determine the content and policies of the course, and to focus learning on issues affecting their communities. He says: “In supporting the MUA/TWB missions, the class goes beyond the traditional measures of individual outcomes or progress by also focusing on collective and community outcomes.”
Student ownership of the class, Jeff recalls, was most apparent by the leadership they took in organizing a class fundraiser in Dolores Park that raised over $500 for the class.
When asked of his most satisfying moments, Jeff says: “There has been much satisfaction after teaching a class where everything fell into place, the afternoon selling tamales with the students in the park, but most of all the pride I felt in watching the students delivering their public presentations in English on their graduation day.”
We thank Jeff for his commitment to his students and helping create a program dedicated to developing immigrant women leaders through ESL learning. We know that he will continue moving forward with work that supports the empowerment of marginalized communities and encourages social justice. We wish him the best!
TWB and MUA will continue to provide its ESL course which remains dedicated to the goal of inciting social change through the leadership development of immigrant women ESL learners.