May 17, 2004
This story was written by Dianne Chipman, from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Dianne is enrolled in literacy classes at Rabbittown Learners' Program in St. John's. She is a single mother of four girls and has seven siblings.
Hello my name is Dianne and I am a single mother of four girls. I left school when I was thirteen years old and in grade seven. I lived with my mother and father and was one of eight children. My father was gone most of the time working, so my mother had to take care of us by herself. Back in those days education was not as important as it is today, so my mother did not have the time to teach us. Not one of us graduated, but I would like to be the one that does. I used to do my homework after school when I was younger but I never put much time into it. However, I didn't have anyone to teach me or sit with me so how could I learn ? I don't blame my parents. I think back in those days things were a lot harder then they are today.
As I mentioned before I have four children one graduated from High School, one in grade eight, another in grade seven, and my four year old is in daycare. It was very hard at times especially when I would have to visit a doctor, and I didn't understand what they told me, or when I would go to the mall to see a movie, and I couldn't read what was written on the board. I found it very difficult to teach my children when they came home from school with their homework. I couldn't sit down and help them. I could only do so much. I would get upset with myself and go into another room and cry. It's really frustrating. I tell my kids every day never give up. If you need help with school work ask a friend, a teacher or get a tutor because you need to have an education to get anywhere in life.
I left school in grade seven but I only had a grade four when I started this program. I've been here for a year and a half. When I first came here I felt so alone until I saw so many other people just like me. Now it is time for me to get my grade twelve. I can't thank this school enough for giving me second chance. I hear people say all the time how hard it is for a single parent, it's true in some ways. But if I can take care of four children and come back to school anyone can if they put their mind to it.
My dream is to get my grade twelve and go on to become a Childcare Worker. Never give up and your dreams will come true.
[This story was taken with permission, from Face the Facts, pp. 39-40, a step by step guide for literacy providers to raise public awareness of literacy issues in our society and the need to stay in school. The guide was published by Rabbittown Learners' Program and will soon be online in the NALD Literacy Collection.]