In a desire to reach the non-English speaking people in our community, we decided to offer a basic conversational English course at our church. It was to be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00. I had trained two other people to help me teach the classes. Not wanting to be overwhelmed, I limited the publicity to a few flyers prominently placed throughout the neighborhood stores and at my workplace.
When the first night rolled around, rather than being overwhelmed with students, we were totally underwhelmed. No one came. The teachers gathered early, got the classrooms ready and waited. Not to be discouraged, we reminded ourselves that sometimes people tend to show up late. We decided to use the time constructively to tidy up the church building. At 8:00 we finally decided that no one was coming.
The next day, feelings of depression flowed over me. I feared that we would be overwhelmed, but instead, we had no response. I felt that surely a few would come, so we could build from that.
At work the next day, a co-worker who had wanted to come but could not, told me that I should try posting a notice on Facebook. She told me of a page that worked like a flea market for the community. I composed an ad and gave it to her to review before posting. Then I had to request membership in the on-line flea market community.
The next class was to begin on Thursday, and my membership request still needed approval. On Wednesday morning I finally received the approval. My supervisor sent me out to the field early that morning, but before I left, I wanted to make sure that I got my ad posted to the website. Even though the class was free, I put it on the flea market page. I uploaded it and left for the field by 6:30 am.
It was not long before I started receiving “like” notices on my Facebook page. By the end of the day, I had over fifty hits. Some asked about joining and requested more information. Some texted me at the number on the post.Others actually called me.
The next day, the day of the class, the responses continued the same. I answered questions. I encouraged them to come. Finally the time came. Just before 6:30, the first student arrived. When we got started just a little late, we had fifteen students enrolled with two children in the day care area.
The first class was all about getting to know one another. Apart from my co-worker and her husband, I did not know any of the other people personally. Some had called me on the phone. Others had texted. Some of them were married and some knew each other. By the end of the evening, twenty of us had become new friends.
Before leaving for the evening, I asked how they had found out about the class. Only one said that he had heard an announcement on the radio. Other than that, all the rest had heard about it social media. In just two full days on Facebook, we had a perfect beginning to an English class. Now we will rely on word of mouth to carry it from there. Soon we will hopefully double in size.