Tutor Liz McKibbin has recently experienced the real secret behind the AACLC’s success. Workbooks, flashcards, and helpful hints may be the tools we use to help adults begin to tackle the mind-blowing difficulty of reading English. But it is simple kindness and patience that underlie the hard work that tutors and students do together.
Liz’s student Linda has only been working with her for a little more than two months. Linda, whose limited experience with the English language was gleaned from listening to people’s conversations and by paying attention to instructions she received at her babysitting job, was very self-conscious and frustrated by her inability to maintain a conversation and make herself understood properly. She despaired of ever finding help until a colleague suggested she contact the AACLC.
When Linda’s tutoring sessions first got underway, Liz noted that “Linda wasn’t quite sure how long our relationship would last and why AACLC volunteers teach people the way we do. She wasn’t expecting such kindness!” But in just a few short weeks, Liz became aware of a big increase in her student’s self-confidence. “Once she realized that I would really be there for her on a regular basis, she simply blossomed. Linda is extremely hardworking and a very easy-going person.”
Liz intuitively knew that focusing on something that had an immediate impact on Linda’s life would be a powerful motivator: “A big step for her was learning Anne Arundel County Environmental and Fire Procedures, a requirement for keeping her job. We studied together for five successive lessons, role playing all the steps she had to master, until she was ready to be tested on them.”
Recently, Linda described the difference her tutoring sessions with Liz have made in her life. Tears of happiness streamed down her face as she remarked: “I felt like I lived in a very small house with lots of windows which I could not open or see through. But now, Miss Liz has come into my life and is opening these windows, one by one, bringing in sunshine and fresh air every time I learn something new.”