Impact Stories

Instructor Stories

Instructor Spotlight: Jen Frost

December 13, 2023

In Southern California, Jen Frost loves the diversity of her community and wanted to help it thrive. So, this past year, she joined Oceanside READS, in Oceanside, CA, as an ESL instructor. In the 12 months since she’s began leading classes, she’s been inspired by watching her students evolve and grow together.

Meet Jen Frost.

The Basics

ProLiteracy: How long have you worked with Oceanside READS? 

Jen Frost: I joined the Oceanside READS team in January 2023.

PL: Why did you decide to start working with Oceanside READS?  

JF: Living in San Diego, it’s always been clear to me that our community is a diverse one. I wanted to find a way to work with individuals who themselves were working to learn a new language. As I’ve been studying Spanish for four years now, I can appreciate the challenges and nuances that a new language can bring as an adult learner.

PL: What do you teach and in what setting? 

JF: I teach ESL classes each week at the Oceanside Senior Center. It’s part of a program called Cafecito and is meant to be a discussion circle style class. Our learners are early learners, so we mix basic discussion alongside vocabulary and verb tenses.

About Your Experience

PL: What have you learned about yourself by working with your students? 

JF: This truly has been such a gift to me! Seeing the learners show up, week after week, excited to share their homework (they love getting homework!), tell me about their weekend, and ready to take on the day’s activity is such motivation.

PL: Tell us about a favorite/impactful/memorable teaching experience. 

JF: When we first started the group, our learners came into the classroom very quiet, heads down, and didn’t speak unless spoken to. Now, even if I get there early, they’re already in the classroom waiting for me and having a chat amongst themselves in their native language. It’s such a joy to see how much they’ve progressed and the bonds they’ve made with each other.

PL: How do you keep students motivated? 

JF: While most of our sessions follow a standard three-part format (tell me about your weekend, book work, and chat/review), I love throwing in parties. Now that we’re in the thick of the holidays, we have themed days where, for example, we’ll have a few Thanksgiving treats served on festive tableware, play Thanksgiving bingo, and practice words associated with Thanksgiving. They absolutely love the parties and are often the drivers behind asking if we can have another one soon!

The Other Stuff

PL: Where would you go on your dream vacation? 

JF: I’m a homebody, so I would love to have a staycation. I’d have someone come give my house a deep clean on Monday so that I could spend Tuesday–Sunday in a home just as clean as any hotel! Then I’d spend the day dining out at all the local restaurants I’ve been meaning to try, work in my garden, and read a few good books out on the patio. I love our home, and Oceanside, so much, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

PL: What is your favorite book of all time? 

JF: My favorite book, behind the Bible, is probably Ahab’s Wife: Or, The Star-Gazer. It’s the beautiful fictitious story of the woman behind the famous man. There’s something so powerful and raw about this book that I’ve read it time and time again.

PL: What are you reading now? 

JF: I’m currently reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s one I think every person should read. It’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of life—the demands of saying “yes” when asked to do something. And yet, each time we say “yes” to something, it comes at some cost … sometimes the cost of what could have been an even better “yes” had we taken the time to ponder before giving our reply. I can’t recommend it enough.