Volunteer of the Month: John Matas

John Matas

When John Matas joined the Immigrant Centre in August 2014, he brought with him over 40 years of experience teaching elementary and middle school in the Pembina Trails School Division. “In the past few years, we have had many EAL students enrolled at my school and in my class, so I wanted to try adult EAL.”

An online search for EAL opportunities led him to the Immigrant Centre, where he accepted a volunteer position as an English Conversation Group Facilitator. “I have enjoyed teaching all the classes at the Immigrant Centre. I started with Beginner Level and then moved to Intermediate, which I enjoy. The students in my classes are generally highly educated in their own countries and are trying to improve English skills. “

“Teaching here helps me think about all the things we take for granted in Canada, like clean air and friendly people, which are things people in my classes talk about the most in terms of what they like about Canada. I enjoy meeting people from different cultures who are motivated to learn.”

John grew up in Winnipeg, and has lived here all his life, with some travelling in between. In his twenties, he played hockey in Europe for a few years. He currently enjoys playing pool in a league, and he likes watching all sports.  “I enjoy being with my wife, Stephanie, and other family, and I am awaiting my second grandchild in May.”

When he retires from teaching in June, John intends to continue his volunteer work. “I plan to keep teaching adult EAL, since I always learn a lot from teaching.”