HOW I GREW TO LOVE PACESETTERS
By: Joan Elizabeth A. Agawa
The day Ms. Janet Medina first invited me to join Pacesetters in July 2012, I honestly wasn’t overly excited. At the time, I told her openly that I was waiting for a call from the Department of Foreign Affairs, in search of a job where I could use my training from Messiah College (I took up AB Intercultural Studies, major in Diplomacy and International Relations). But then again, who could refuse sweet Ms. Jan, who in fact used to be one of my professors and continued to be a loyal prayer warrior? So after seeking God’s guidance, retrieving my TESOL certificate (obtained in the U.S. in 2005) and brushing up on my diction and grammar, I surprised Ms. Jan by saying that I was interested in teaching part-time at Pacesetters.
Little did I know that God was going to use these six months that I have been with Ms. Jan and Ms. Lucy (our COO) as a huge blessing on my life—a training ground for my dream career, and a season for character-molding. It’s been an exciting adventure teaching Chinese students, a Brazilian national and, yes, even Filipinos! Most of the time, when people find out that I’m an English teacher, I usually get the stereotype: “Oh…so you teach Koreans!” Not that there is anything wrong with it (I used to teach this engaging people group in the past, before college); but at Pacesetters, English teachers are not limited to only one nationality—we take on anybody who seriously wants to acquire better speaking, listening, and writing skills! As a matter of fact, I’d even had the privilege of teaching an Outstanding Filipino Worker from Japan, Joshua*, and I could say that those four months taught me to make use of technological innovation, and gave me a sense of fulfillment as I witnessed my student’s vocabulary and confidence grow.
Currently, I’m teaching a very jolly Brazilian company executive, Marcelo*. I have loads of fun being his tutor, matching his strong determination to polish his American English (“upgrading himself,” he calls it) with imaginative lessons every week. In so doing I’ve begun to marvel not only at Marcelo’s progress, but also with the development of my teaching style and personality. Moreover, every time I hear my Bossa-Nova-singing, soccer-playing, samba-dancing student exclaim, “We had a really great lesson today, Ms. Joan!” or, “I want to practice speaking English even when I’m not in class,” I’m encouraged to give even better than my last “best”.
Looking back to that July meeting with Ms. Jan, I have no regrets about Pacesetters. I started out lacking the proper motivation to teach English, but with Ms. Janet’s free-flowing encouragement and constant fellowship and Ms. Lucy’s unwavering support, my soul eventually blossomed in the constant watering of genuine friendship.
With all my love, I wish this promising Institute the very best!
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.