“[As a tutor] you will give support to build a solid, successful learning environment. You will establish a base for improved self-confidence by helping an adult-learner define and reach his or her literacy goals. By helping another human being, you will provide an invaluable gift. Your time and talents will shape another’s destiny!”
Demystifying Adult literacy for Volunteer Tutors by Charlene L. Ball
Gordon A. Hills CD, msc, BSA, MSc, PhD, P.Ag – Being a Tutor
Floyd was keen to learn and a keen learner. We did fun things together as we learned how to use banking machines and read the names on stores . Floyd is successfully learning to read and write. I had to sit at his kitchen table in December while he completed his Christmas cards. We had birthday cake for his 79th birthday.
When I met Floyd, I soon realized he was a highly intelligent man whose life had continued to deal deuces instead of Kings and Queens. He was 78 years old and mourning the loss of his wife who had supported him greatly throughout their years together.
I was introduced to Floyd with no training or experience as a volunteer literacy tutor. My wife had previous successful experiences as an English language learner tutor. In my retirement she thought I might enjoy continuing my career as a teacher and that I might enjoy working with CLASS.
I came to Canada in November 3, 2008. I am from Mexico. My parents live in a small town called Comonfort. I have two sisters. My older sister came to Canada with me. My younger sister stayed in Mexico. The reason that I came to Canada was to help my family. I come from a lower class family. In Mexico, it is very hard to find a job. There are not a lot of work opportunities.
My sister and I had a good opportunity to come to Canada. A lady from Mexico helped us to come here. I was very happy, at the same time, nervous because my English was not very good. But that did not stop me from coming to Canada because I really wanted to help my family. I was scared and nervous. I was in a country that I have never been before, with a different language. I did not know a lot of people that could help me, make an appointment with the doctor, open an account with the bank or even help me to speak English better.
At that time, it was very hard to communicate with people at work. After two years, I met a nice lady, she told me about CLASS. She asked me if I wanted to have English classes. I was very excited. I had my first English class and it was a good experience. I have been taking classes for 6 years. My English has improved a lot, and now I can have a conversation with someone and not feel nervous. I feel confident going to the doctor and I know more information about institutions that provide help or give a service.
My English is not perfect as a result, I’m still working on it and CLASS is helping me a lot. The people who work at CLASS are very nice and patient with us. I’m very thankful there are institutions that help foreign people, so that we don’t feel lonely.
Now I have a daughter. My goal for the future is go to school. I want to get a good job and provide a good future for my daughter because I’m a single mom. I’m sure that I will achieve all of these because of CLASS.
My name is Adama Camara. I am from Guinea, West Africa. I came with my daughter, Aminata, to Canada in May 2014. I came to join my husband in Vermilion, Alberta.
We are very happy because the members of my family live all together in Canada.I am happy because I have a new baby boy, Issiaga.
CLASS has helped me to make new friends. My new friends gave me many things for the baby.
I learned about the holidays in Canada. My daughter and me , we went to the parade in the costume of my county in June. It was the festival.
CLASS helps me to learn English grammar and to speak and write more English. My goals for the future are to be a nurse and to see more of Canada.
I want to learn English to help Aminata and Issiaga in school.
CLASS gives me a tutor to help me at home with my English. CLASS sent Marian to talk to me about having a baby in Canada. She is going to be good to help with Issiaga.
I think CLASS is a good idea for newcomers.
My name is Sung Chul Kim, and I moved from South Korea to Canada about two years ago. I am a permanent resident in Canada. Before I came here, I was a mechanical engineer in Korea. Currently, I work at Plastic Rotational Kontainers Limited (PRKL plastic). However, once I reach an adequate level of fluency in English, I hope to work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada (P.Eng.). My qualifications were assessed through Alberta Works last year.
To reach my goal, I looked for an English class, and thankfully, Chandra, the CEO of CLASS, introduced the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program to me. Therefore, I registered for the LINC program at Norquest College in Edmonton where I met Gordon who was a Norquest English teacher. Since then, I have studied English once a week for two hours in class. Through the LINC program, I have learned Canadian law, culture and symbols. Also, I am learning how to speak on the telephone and practicing writing through email. Although the LINC class helps me improve English, studying English just in class is not enough. So whenever I have time, I study English through the Internet.
Using the Internet is very effective for learning English, especially for people who have time but cannot go to school to study. I have learned interactive English via the Internet. One of the most useful websites is English-club.com that Gordon recommended to me. In this website, there are so many resources for ESL learners. For reading comprehension, there is a plain English version of The New York Times on line newspaper that Chandra sends out through email. Language is habitual and practice makes perfect. There are many native speakers around us, so we can take advantages of it by conversing with them. Let’s practice English.
My name is Sergii, my wife is Lesia and our son is Andrii. My family and I are from the Ukraine. We came to Canada on March 15, 2010. We like it here. On April 15 we started going to English classes in Vermilion. It helps us very much. Our teacher is a very good woman and person. Her name is Judy Walsh. When we come to lessons time goes by very fast, because she explains everything easily and it is very interesting to us. Big thanks to her. She does a big job for us.
Floyd didn’t know how to read or write at the age of 78 years. In just 3 months, Floyd had learned his ABC’s and writing Christmas Cards!
Floyd was a hard rock miner who dropped out of school at a very early age to support his mother and sisters. His wife was a very caring and loving person who protected him and did everything that required reading or writing. With his wife’s loss in the Spring of 2009, he came to Vermilion to be with his daughter for a month (which has now turned into 5 months). With his daughter’s encouragement he came to CLASS to help him read and write and become more independent in his new life.
When he started, Floyd knew some basic words by memory only. Within three months of one on one tutoring, Floyd was sounding out 3 syllable words and writing Christmas cards to his friends back in Ontario.
He is reading everything in sight now, and wrestling with the Reader’s Digest, which was one of his reading goals when starting. Floyd learned pre-basic computer skills through a CLASS computer course. He is now able to operate a ATM machine, and use his bank card anywhere. He wants to drive a vehicle next, and I have no doubt that with his energy and motivation, he will.
Floyd went back to his hometown in Ontario this January, and he is greatly missed. At the wonderful age of 79, Floyd proves that no one is too old to learn the essential skills of literacy. He is an inspiration to all that life may change, but changes can give you the opportunity to learn and grow if you take it.