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The Literacy Council trains you to bring in life experiences which makes learning more inspirational. The training also teaches about how people learn differently. “It is good to use all the tools in the toolbox so that you can touch a class. That is different from tutoring, but in a class it is important to keep an eye on your students on who is tuning out.” Just because someone can’t speak your language doesn’t mean they aren’t brilliant. They know more than one language. You will have someone who is an engineer or lawyer in their country. It is what you pay attention to and the respect you give them that is important. When I teach my students, it is about getting the language under their belt, but it is also about sharing and being part of a community together.


Anna worked to develop a syllabus for what ended up being a seven-week occupational skills training class. She described her students’ enthusiasm:  They didn’t want it to end. They wanted us to continue. I wasn’t only just giving out information.  I was getting them to talk. It was a safe place with someone who is going to give them the grace to speak at their pace. At the beginning and throughout each week there was a lot of preparation, as Anna wanted some structure around what she was teaching. Even if the class students never had to fill out a job application online, she felt that the information that they learned was really valuable: My big thing is knowledge is powerful. If you have knowledge, you feel strong — you feel in control.


Since becoming a tutor, Pat has tutored four students over the years.  He describes the goals of one of his former students, Ruben, who wanted to be able to talk with his boss, speak with his 11 year-old granddaughter in English, and to become a U.S. citizen.  After struggling to pass the citizenship test, Pat and Ruben reconnected recently and shared the joyful news that he passed!


After completing tutor training, Flavia joined a team of Literacy Council Parent Literacy Program tutors, and was matched with Kari, whose child attends Waverley Elementary School. Flavia and Kari began meeting in person, and eventually had to switch to remote learning.  When asked about working together with Flavia during their tutoring sessions, Kari shared: “I thought I was ready with the English I had, but I wasn’t.  I felt like I wanted to learn more.  Thanks to her (Flavia), she motivates me to take the time to study and believe in myself.  I am feeling more comfortable with myself.  I am feeling like I can actually communicate better with the teacher.” Flavia enthusiastically added: “You have progressed a lot. I think it is great to see the improvement – to be able to use certain sentences and say certain things. It makes me feel good.” Their warm relationship is apparent when Kari explains, “I can ask her or tell her something and she will understand, and not judge me. The way she acts makes me feel that she cares about me. More like a friendship learning things instead of a tutor. I have actually learned a lot. My goal is to go back to college.”


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