Delia S. is a Tech en La Casa Instructor at Cristo Rey Community Center in Lansing. The classes provideSpanish-speaking students living in north Lansing a chance to learn the basics of computer skills in their native language. These new skills allow students to connect with and stay current in the lives of family and friends.
Q: What do you teach?
I teach Tech En La Casa, a language hybrid computers class: While the software is in English, some of my students don’t feel confident with the commands until they learn about them in Spanish first. So I teach all the lessons in English AND Spanish, that way they can learn in either language. Students learn Microsoft Word, Facebook, Skype, and more.
Q: Why at Cristo Rey?
Here, they feel safe to learn. After each class, we even finish with a potluck meal. In addition to the language support, the location is good for everyone. It’s in students’ neighborhood, it’s on the bus route, close to home, and there are multiple activities for Latin American families, some who are already coming here. Often students feel more comfortable in this environment—it’s not teacher to student format, but rather friend to friend.
Q: Is there an average student?
The only common thread is Spanish. Our students are all ages, and from all over. Mexico, Ecuador, Puerto Rico… but they all speak Spanish and are learning English. They want to understand how computers work, get updated on the newest technology, keep in touch with their family, look for jobs. Many want to help their children: With this class, they can now get grades and messages from their childrens’ teachers and help with homework.
Q: Most surprising thing about teaching Tech En La Casa?
The fear. It’s amazing that in this age of computers everywhere, there are still some adults who are afraid to touch the computer, to move the mouse. Until you see it for yourself, it’s hard to believe. Teaching this class has been so meaningful, I’m touched by the happiness that comes with learning to use Skype to connect with family, to share photos, and learn how to use technology.