Thanks to Curt Cameron, tutor at the Hubbs Center, for sharing his story in today's guest blog post!
The first day I walked into the HubbsCenter
, I thought, “Am I going to be of any use to these people? Am I going to know what to do or enjoy this? Is this going to be challenging?” After I sat down with a learner and started working with them, it got easier and now I look forward to it.
I’ve been doing this for about two and a half years, since I retired from the business world. I didn’t have an education background, so there were a lot of things that… well, you forget things over the decades, so there was quite a learning curve for me in some areas.
The very first day I was there, someone came in wanting help with algebra. It had been a couple of years since I’d figured out the slope of a line. The first thing I did after class was go to a bookstore and buy a book about grammar and one on algebra. That was my first investment in this whole thing.
in St. Paul
is a fairly large operation; it’s part of the St. Paul Public Schools designed for adult learning. They offer courses in GED and college prep, some technically oriented courses, CNA, Pre-nursing – there’s quite a variety. They have a media center with computers for online learning. In the media center, they have an area for tutors to work one-to-one with learners, or if we’re busy, one tutor to three learners working on just about any subject that they want help with. On any given day, I work with beginning learners to advanced learners in any of the subjects taught there. I like that because I’m not doing the same thing or going to the same classroom every day.
The most enjoyable aspect for me is the learners. They are an impressive group of people. I am so in awe of them when they talk about their life experiences and stories, the things they’ve had to endure. Some of it’s very sad. But there’s always this: they've survived. They’re here in this country trying to adapt to a very different culture than most of them are used to. They’re dealing with the economics of living in America and the pace of life here.
I started taking courses at the Minnesota Literacy Council and found online websites that I could use for getting information about grammar. Some of the very simple words that we use every day can be challenging to define in an easy, concise manner that the learners can understand. In short, it's been a very enjoyable experience for me.