Tony McClellan

The right blend: More than just another ESL program

Neither retirement nor a pandemic could keep Tony from pursuing his passion of teaching. With a background in education, Tony spent many years working in administration, and serendipitously stumbled across CCI-LEX. “I liked how the LEX program operates on a volunteer basis and that in essence you would have your own classroom and your own class, so I thought I’d give it a try.”

Tony has now taught in the LEX program for two years, some of it in person, but mostly via Zoom. “The online stuff really serves a need and there’s a real place for that even after COVID. With in-person teaching, you can provide at-the-elbow support, which you can’t do when you’re on Zoom. But if you have people who have some facility with English, plus they’re fairly comfortable with technology, it works really well.”

He goes on to comment how CCI-LEX is not just about learning English. “It’s the model that I appreciate more than anything. It’s not a mandated program like some other programs and it fills a gap – it’s a nice balance between being focused on language plus also building community in the classroom. I find it’s the right blend, particularly for me.”

In addition to teaching Beginner and Low Intermediate classes, Tony also started a reading club at lunchtime to introduce students to literature with a focus on functional English. He sums up his volunteer teaching experience thus: “I think what it’s done is allowed me to pursue, in a very comfortable way, things that I’ve already done in the past. It’s not something I’m doing because I have to, it’s something I want to do, so I can have a little bit of fun with it.”