Students at Aguilar Library's Center for Reading and Writing are getting to know other students from around the city! They are pen pals with students in one ESOL evening class at CUNY's City Tech Adult Learning Center in Brooklyn.
Jay Klokker's students at City Tech introduced themselves to Aguilar Library's CRW students in short handwritten letters and within a week, Aguilar Library's CRW students had their replies out in the mail back to Brooklyn!
More than 20 pairs of pen pals look forward to their "mail," which is hand delivered by their teachers each week. Some topics discussed include: The Breadwinner, a book about a girl in Afghanistan; how difficult it is to study English; playing soccer; the trials of a difficult engineering job in this country; traveling to Mexico; watching Seinfeld; living with a cat; and having a girlfriend!
In one correspondence, a Japanese student writes to an Albanian student:
"You did an amazing job looking at the map and describing the cities in my country. I cannot tell the details about your country... I lived in Tokyo and sometimes I went to Yokahama. Unfortunately, I have never been to the other areas you discovered on the map. I hope to go one day..."
One student from Thailand writes to a woman from Belarus:
"Do you know that I smile all the time while reading your letter? I am so happy to have a friend like you. You have a beautiful name, too. What is the meaning of your name? Please tell me."
One Chinese student congratulates her new friend on her new job:
"In my opinion, you got the job very easily, How is it being a cashier? Is it easy or difficult? Do you enjoy it? You are lucky that you got a new job... On weekends I go to work to take care of my client. Sometimes we go shopping together and sometimes she goes to church with me. So I love my job very much..."
Making new friends in NYC is always a challenge to our students, so having pen pals seemed to be a good way to begin a friendship, and it helps students develop their writing skills as well!
We are planning a Pen Pal Party for December, where students will meet one another for the first time! How wonderful is that?