Meet Kris, May's Literacy Leader!

Kris Trelles has been volunteering at Centro Guadalupano in Minneapolis since she retired from her job teaching ESL in Minneapolis Public Schools. She started at Centro four years ago to fulfill the requirements of an Adult Basic Education teaching licensure program and has been volunteering there ever since. She decided to continue volunteering at Centro, rather than to take a paid position in a larger classroom, she says, because she likes the smaller classes and the informal and friendly structure.

Kris teaches Wednesday mornings in the high intermediate level classes. Class starts at 9:30 am, but she always arrives earlier to work one-to-one help with a student in reading. During class, students sit in a circle together to facilitate discussion. Her classes are two hours long, and focus on reading, writing, listening and speaking. Many students stay after class to work on specific tasks and to talk with Kris about their lives.

When we asked Kris what kept her coming back, she said “the students. I feel strongly about the positive contributions that immigrants have made to our country (my father and father-in-law were both immigrants), and I want to do my part to help them be successful in the United States”. Kris’ passion for learning and teaching has helped her students keep coming back as well. Her favorite thing about class is fostering a community across languages in her classroom. She loves learning about her students’ families, languages, and cultures. She said, “right now the students in my class are from four different continents and speak four different languages — Spanish, Somali, French and Vietnamese. We have all been surprised to discover that there are many similarities in language structure between Spanish and Somali!” She loves seeing her students succeed and have fun all at once.

Kris is energized by teaching. In her down time, she likes to knit hats and mittens for the children of her students. She describes herself as resourceful, kind and inquisitive, qualities that clearly contribute to her success as a teacher and lifelong learner. Thank you, Kris, for your dedication to literacy and education, and for being a Literacy Leader!


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