D. is a student at Project: LEARN working on improving her English language skills. Her tutor, M., has been helping her for two years now. This is their story:
M: Tutoring is really very stimulating. I am a retired teacher; and this is a whole new perspective. I am able to use my training and experience, but it’s for an adult now. Keeping it interesting, and tailoring everything for an adult, is a challenge; plus everything that my student comes up with is a totally new experience for me, too, so it’s opened up a whole new world for me—her perspective.
That has been an eye opener. English is hard! Plus, the general background knowledge that is needed, that was a surprise. The cultural knowledge, language knowledge, and now that I have a second student, the total difference between what two different people are experiencing, you put that all together and it really becomes really fascinating. It’s opened up a whole new world for me, and I really appreciate that.
You meet a new person, and just learning about that person,coming here from a different culture…and living in a different culture–she’s also lived in other parts of the country– brings in a whole different perspective. It’s really been fascinating, and very exciting.
People tell me they are self-conscious about talking in front of people, or tutoring, or teaching, but really, when you think about it, it’s not about you. It’s about them. You know, even if you are speaking to a large group, it’s about them! And you want to bring them out and bring them new information, and teach them something new. Or if it’s an individual, just finding out what it is that will really help them. It’s about them, it’s not about you.
D.: Project: LEARN, it’s opened a new door for me, where I feel…myself. And I can use my own words. And it’s like I’ve been studying English for long, but this program is helping me to develop…it’s been helping me a lot. It helped me be myself. I’m talking more, I’m making friends! I’m involved with my kids’ education and their school. There are so many more things, but the most important is I’m gaining confidence in myself. Before, I was afraid to speak English. Now I don’t mind making mistakes, because I know next time I’ll do better. First, when I started going to the dentist, and I needed work done, they told me everything they were going to do, but I wasn’t sure what they were saying or talking about. I didn’t ask because I was afraid to speak—I thought they wouldn’t understand me. I knew they had to do the work. But now, with my English better, I start asking questions. Now, I know everything they are doing, and I feel good!
Before, other people translated for me, they were asking everything, but not what I wanted to know. Now, I’M asking the questions. I’ve very pleased with that! I’m grateful for Project: LEARN and M. I feel more “me,” and I don’t care what people think, because I’m using my words, myself, and I’m happy with that.
M.: The most rewarding thing is seeing how much D. has improved, how much she’s learned. When we started, she wasn’t thinking in English at the time, now you know that she is. And just seeing her improve and her growth and her self-confidence…you know that nothing is going to stop her. That is the most rewarding thing about doing this, seeing that happen.
D.: M. is doing all the work! She is helping me a lot!
M.: No, I don’t do all the work, you’re doing all the work!
D.: When I moved to a new place, I’m looking for how to learn English, and there was a school here but they ended the program. If it wasn’t for Project: LEARN, I think I would still struggle with my English.
Throughout the month of November, Project: LEARN of Medina County is sharing stories of our volunteers, students and staff. We have amazing volunteers! The community is so supportive of our three used bookstores! In order to keep serving the county at a high level, we need additional community support. If you would like to tutor, work in our BookShelf stores, or donate books to Project: LEARN, you can contact us for more information here: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 330-723-1314. To support our mission with a donation, visit our fall fundraiser page here: http://tinyurl.com/zxh9r6e .