I just got word last night that I'm cleared and ready to begin as an adult literacy tutor. Best of all, I have an eager student waiting for me!
I'll be working with adult offenders through the work furlough program of our county probation offices. These folks have been convicted of a minor crime of some kind, but rather than receiving jail time, they were sentenced to probation. They're offered lots of opportunities to improve their lives, making them better citizens who hopefully won't break the law again. One of those opportunities is studying for their GED's. From that group of students, some are recognized as needing individual help learning to read. That's where we volunteer literacy tutors come in.
All I know at this point is that my student's name is Mark, and I'll be meeting with him twice a week for an hour each time, helping him learn to read. He's very eager to get his GED, and has been waiting for my security clearance to come through (background check, finger-printing, etc.) I've not yet met him, but I keep hearing from other tutors that he's enthusiastic and raring to go. I couldn't ask for more in my first assignment!
As I mentioned in a post a month or so ago, I can't image how difficult it is for an adult to step forward and say, "I don't know how to read. Please help me." I love to read, and always have my nose buried in a book or magazine of some kind. What would it be like to go through life not being able to escape into a good novel? Or more importantly, to be unable to read a menu or a perscription bottle or street signs? We take so much for granted when we can read, don't we?
So I'm excited to begin on Monday -- and scared as heck! Every time I misspell a word, or make a blunder in one of my crossword puzzles, I think, "Good grief, who am I to be teaching somehow how to read??" But then I remember that old expression about how in life, there will always be someone more knowledgeable than you, and always someone not quite as skilled. I've had some incredible teachers in my lifetime - both in traditional classrooms settings and out in the world. Now it's my turn to give something back.
Until next time...