This is a plum job. English as a Second Language is what brings us together. The women share their workplace in common, Roche Molecular Systems in Pleasanton, California. I share it too. For two years I have arrived for our lone hour of class time. Learning English can be a formidable task. Each of these student’s progress is a feather in my cap. They expect a lesson worthy of their time, and I deliver. We cover every aspect of the English language. They are collectively aware of their shortcomings, and with their prominent accents in place, self-conscious leanings dominate the space. I assure them I am here to cultivate and nurture their second language skills. They love to have plain conversation and have made it clear that the books I have made available are met with a lukewarm reception. Okay. So, I go home and collect worksheets for them. I can pretty much retire the worksheets from use in this venue. I shoot questions to them from a wonderfully useful book chock full of writing/speaking prompts offering questions and scenarios on every conceivable topic. Sometimes we cover the happenings at the holidays. What did they do? What did they eat? Each student has one child (in keeping with the mandate from the Chinese government) all of them adults.
Their work at Roche escapes me in terms of what they actually do on any given day. Working with cultures is part of their task. They lose me when they start to explain in detail. I am not much for comprehension of the scientific world. But, here’s an impressive fact. The lady on the right is an accomplished opera singer! I asked if she would please regale us with her mastery of opera right there in our classroom…in Italian. She complied. Whoa!
We have had a couple low key “parties”. They bring the food, and I eat it. Simple that way. We hug. We discuss important things like the dress somebody wears. They love me. I love them. It will be difficult when our paths no longer cross. Oh, by the way. Roche pays well. Roche has the reputation for taking very good care of their employees. Lavish company parties. No one works on the clock. When you have completed your task for the day, you leave. Sure, there may be some beyond-typical-hours-days, but it is all part of the Roche culture. My ladies arrive for lessons after a long, exhausting day at their work. They don’t complain. I may be the one who benefits most.