A Tale of Success



LTR: Shawan, we hear from your teachers that you are doing really well in class here at LTR! Did you have problems in school when you were younger?

SM: Well, I always tried when I was in school, but I felt like most of the time they were just
passing me through. I didn’t have anyone that was there to teach me and take their time. I
struggled in mostly all of my subjects. I tried- I really did try to understand.

LTR: How are Learn to Read classes different than what you have experienced in school before?

SM: When I was younger, the teachers would try to help me, but there were a lot of other students in the classroom. They would usually help the kids who already knew what they were doing. I feel like they might be a little annoyed with the people who had more trouble.

There are less students in the classes here, and ya’ll take your time and help the students who don’t understand. You break it down more.

LTR: How did you find out about classes at Learn to Read?

SM: I went to FSCJ’s Downtown Campus (to get in to GED
classes) and didn’t pass the (TABE) test, so they told me about Learn to Read at the library.

I used to have low self-esteem, but everyone in these classes is here for the same reason. They are trying to get the same thing I need. It has really opened me up. What’s the point of being ashamed?

Shawan studying in math class.

LTR: What is motivating you right now, besides wanting to get a GED?

SM: Right now, I’m just concentrated on school, but I think about nursing. My grandfather gets sick a lot- he’s on dialysis. A lot of my family
members are getting older and I think about taking care of them. Plus, if you’re trying to get to the next level with jobs, you just need a GED. When you go online and fill out an application, they ask if you have a GED. I don’t blame them! They want people who know how to do the job.

My mom is over at FSCJ right now trying to get her GED. She’ll tell me about websites like Khan Academy and to help me study. I read books on my Kindle Fire when I’m bored. I did not do that before.

Really, I am motivated by my self. This is what I want! When you go through life always thinking about your family and what they want, sometimes you have to stop and think about what you want. I don’t have any kids, so I can do what I want right now. I am really happy that I just got a (one-on-one) tutor, too! When you are in a class with other people, and you just have an hour or two of class, you need more. With a one-on-one tutor, you can really take your time, and they can explain it to you until you “get it.”

LTR: Do you have any advice for other adult students who are having trouble staying in school?

SM: I’ve told other students that you HAVE to study. This is a free program! Most programs want to charge you an arm and a leg, and I thank god this program is free. They need to stay motivated. It can be hard with other people, family, drama; it can all throw you off. At the end of the day, you have to want to do better for yourself. It might take you a long time, but you can’t stop.

LTR: Have you personally encountered any barriers since you started classes with Learn to Read?

SM: Most of the time I can’t come to class on Wednesday nights because the community shuttle out by my house on the Westside, down 103rd, shuts down at 6pm. The Wednesday night class doesn’t even get out until 6pm, so the majority of the time, I can’t get home if I go to class. The bus just doesn’t go out that far.