Student Spotlight: Moshtaar, ESL Classroom Student

June 22nd, 2018

Moshtaar and his teacher, Ida

Moshtaar is a young man from Afghanistan to whom family is particularly important. After many years apart, he recently became reunited with his mother and sister by moving to Montgomery County less than a year ago. As Moshtaar adjusts to his new life in America, he makes progress in his goals – to perfect his English and to excel in his education – through taking advantage of LCMC’s ESL classroom program, finding help in one terrific teacher and one very supportive sister.

Shortly after arriving in the United States, Moshtaar enrolled in an LCMC class taught by Ida Butler, who saw a big improvement in his English over the course of the Winter 2018 session.

“I’m so amazed by him, he’s so polite,” says Ida, describing that Moshtaar always responds to her addressing the class by responding, “Yes, Teacher,” or “Okay, Teacher.” Moshtaar was one of Ida’s very first students with LCMC, as his class was the first one she taught when she began as an LCMC classroom ESL teacher in February 2018.

“I retired from corporate America and I was looking for something interesting and challenging to do, that I thought would be of more help to people. I was introduced to ESL by my son while he was teaching it part time as he was finishing his graduate degree.” That sparked her interest, and as she learned more about the experiences of other ESL teachers, she knew it was for her.

“I enjoy meeting people from different countries and different cultures and learning about their life experiences. Everyone has a different story as to why they have come to US, whether to better their life, or to come out of conflict in their countries. There are a variety of reasons and it’s interesting to hear their stories.”

For Moshtaar, family seems to be the strongest reason driving his move to America. Another major reason, he says, is quality education. Though he previously attended university in Afghanistan, he wants to go to an American university to become an international relations lawyer, putting his experience living in two very different worlds to use by helping others bridge what can feel like a scary divide in the world. He wants to help others in need who find themselves in a position he himself was recently in, first arriving in the United States. “When people come, I want to help them find the right jobs, the things they need, and help them adjust to how to live here,” Moshtaar tells us.

Zahara, left, has provided sisterly support to Moshtaar

Ida is confident Moshtaar will surely accomplish those admirable goals, speaking highly of his work ethic and good character. She is most proud, she says, of “his commitment. He is dedicated, committed to learning English. He always participates and I like that he asks questions if he doesn’t understand something. He’s just a wonderful student.”

Moshtaar is lucky, he says, to have his sister Zahara alongside him, supporting him and showing him the ropes as a seasoned American citizen now. She picks him up from classes, and told us that Moshtaar is always excited to talk about his teacher and what he learned that day. Zahara is fluent in English, so she helps Moshtaar practice his English outside of class – some of the most effective ways they practice are through texting each other, and committing to speaking to each other in English. He still struggles with his grammar and when to use it while speaking, but he has a great support system in his sister Zahara and his teacher, Ida, who are all confident that Moshtaar will only continue to improve.

Meanwhile, Ida will continue to teach at LCMC and looks forward to watching Moshtaar advance through LCMC’s class levels. She has been an ESL teacher for three years with another organization, but notes that “LCMC is definitely more structured than the other schools I teach for. I like the organization and the structure LCMC provides for its students.”

We consider ourselves lucky to count among the LCMC family teachers as passionate and engaged as Ida as part of our dedicated corps of ESL classroom teachers, as well as thoughtful, goal-oriented students like Moshtaar. Not to mention, speaking of family, extended members in supportive siblings like Zahara! We look forward to keeping in touch with Moshtaar as he continues to soar.

Moshtaar and his family, both by blood and community


Our ESL Classroom program is made possible by generous funders like U.S. Department of Education, State of Maryland (DLLR), the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), the Montgomery County Government, and generous individuals like you. To read more Profiles of LCMC learners, teachers, and volunteers, click here