Justin Lawrence

Learning to teach and teaching to learn: CCI-LEX as a place of self-realization

As with many volunteer teachers in the LEX program, Justin came to CCI-LEX with little prior teaching experience. For him, CCI-LEX was the perfect place to explore his interest in education, providing all the how‑tos in a supportive environment. Here, Justin realized his passion for teaching ESL and developed a confidence that has positively affected other areas of his life.

Justin clearly remembers his first few weeks – he was “beyond nervous”, sweating in front of a class full of students who barely spoke English! But over time he found both his voice and his confidence. He has since taught a month-long summer writing course, in which he had the opportunity to develop his own course plan, and observed some great writing from his students. He particularly enjoys teaching adult learners as he finds them to be motivated, understanding, and always with interesting stories and life experiences to share.

For Justin, being in the classroom is not just about teaching ESL, but also figuring out how students learn, as well as what they like to learn. Justin opens every new class by telling his students that “questions are more than allowed – they’re actually wanted!” He chose to teach a Beginner level class for the challenge of bridging that profound initial language gap, and he’s incredibly proud to have seen some of his students progress all the way up to the Intermediate level – the highest available in the LEX program.

Thanks to his time at CCI-LEX, Justin has found inspiration for his writing, publishing two books in poetry, as well as participated in various public speaking events. After finishing his current degree in communications and writing, Justin plans to pursue his ESL certification and possibly an education after-degree, eventually teaching ESL at an organization such as CCI-LEX or at a university level.