Mexican migrant workers help locals improve their English skills

Mexican migrant workers have long been valued in Southern Ontario for their durable bodies and strong work ethic, but now many of them have another valuable skill to offer – English tutoring. Many Mexican migrant workers are now tutoring local Canadian workers in reading and writing skills, as well as some basic math skills.

Although English is not their first language, the Mexicans say they were able to learn it quickly because of hard work and dedication, and they are confident the local workers can see similar results in their own capabilities if they apply themselves and work hard.

By tutoring, the Mexicans are able to supplement their income and make almost as much as their Canadian counterparts who also work on the farm.

Daniel, a migrant worker who has been tutoring locals for several months now, is optimistic that when he returns for work next season he can teach them about more complex subjects like NAFTA, or  why the notion of racial superiority is just a myth. He is cautiously optimistic however, as he realizes these kinds of things take time.

“At first I thought these guys were just here to take our jobs!” said Nathan, a farm hand at a local tree farm. “But when I realized they could help me get better at filling out my EI forms, I realized maybe they ain’t so bad after all.”

“We’ll be on unemployment throughout the winter, so we’ll have lots of time to study” said another optimistic farm hand.

Photo: Alex Van Hamme

John Alexander

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