Faye Alston reached into her mailbox at Kingswood Apartments in Chapel Hill and pulled out an envelope.
It contained the last piece of what she’d been working toward for seven years — her GED math test results.
She opened the letter, looked at her score and burst into tears. It was a 400. She needed a 410 to pass.
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“My name is Jeff. I’m currently a student with the Blue Ridge Literacy Council, and I’d like to share a bit of about my tutoring journey. I returned to school in the spring of 2018, to work toward completing my High School Equivalency. When I realized I needed additional help in Math, and asked about it, the Community College referred me to the Literacy Council.
Some aspects of my personal situation complicate my ability to get around and participate is certain programs, such as the BRCC tutoring lab services. It’s very difficult for me to make the tutoring lab hours. Plus, I’m a single parent of two awesome children. The kids are full time in my care, and I really needed to be able to tutor in settings where they could play and engage, while under supervision. Working with a literacy council tutor seemed like it would be a much better fit for my personality and learning style, too. I really wanted one-on-one tutoring support, where I could focus and ask personalized questions.
I have a lot of goals for myself. I’m currently looking for sustainable employment and supporting my daughter who is in the process of enrolling in St. Gerard Academy. I want to go on to college and study computers and game design. I also want to keep my children on track and be a great role model for them. Finishing this current Hi-SET program is just one important piece, but also a huge step for my family to move forward.
Working with BRLC tutors has allowed for the schedule and location flexibility I needed and has been vital to supporting my Math and Hi-SET studies. I feel very lucky to have been matched with wonderful, intelligent, kind tutors. My first tutor Catherine was incredibly caring and sensitive to my learning needs. After her schedule and availability changed, I started working with Andy. He is a warm, open individual, who communicates clearly, helps keep me focused, and tries to work with my learning style and needs. It’s been nice to work with instructors and staff who have such passion for teaching and learning, and truly want to see others succeed, and who are willing to take time and energy to help make that happen.
I really think the Literacy Council tutoring is a great program, and I am grateful for it. I have some atypical struggles, when it comes to schedule and location needs – ones that make individualized learning support almost impossible. But the Literacy Council made it happen. And they didn’t make me feel foolish or weird for having so many unique needs. Going to the Literacy Council was one of the greatest decisions I’ve made for my education.”
* Jeff C., 2018/2019 ABE Math student
When your student lets you know of a success or challenge in her/his life, big or small, please let us know. As much as we would like to be in touch with our students regularly, you are the person who will hear about it first.
In order to accurately report and be accountable to our grant funders, we need to know how our program is impacting our students. When we think about materials for your student or for new students, the more we know about what is working well, the better our selections will be. If we see several students struggling over a particular topic, we can look for solutions, which might include individual consultations, different materials, or tutor workshops.
We are always listening for great stories which can inspire other students and tutors. Let us know, and with your and your student’s permission, we will work with you to prepare something for Voices, or for a monthly newsletter.
In particular, if your student has a success at work, please don’t wait until the year-end Goal Reporting to let us know. It’s really important for us to know if our program is having an impact on the economic health of your student’s family. We can also watch for trends that can help us make our program more effective for students with workplace goals.
Thank you for your great work and for being part of BRLC. We appreciate all you do!
Notes and Tips for Good Goal-Setting
(...which can be used to facilitate discussion and planning with students)
The start of a New Year – or the turning of a New Leaf – is a great time to focus extra energy on GOALS. As each year passes, what we need and what we want changes and evolves. This could include, for example, needing/wanting changes, improvements, and learning within: our education, careers, work & projects, health, and relationships.
Goals help us define our aspirations, ambitions and purpose. They help us clarify and outline what we want to accomplish or improve or create or make better, in ourselves and our lives.
Students and learners of all ages experience challenges and stresses. Adult learners, in particular, often fulfill the primary roles of caretaker and/or employee and/or head of household. While they bring maturity, focus, and real-world experience to the classroom, adult learners also face additional stressors related to work, family, scheduling, health, finances, technology/knowledge gaps, etc.