June 1, 1998
Our story this week is a special event, because we are launching four learners stories on the Internet, and you can read their stories as well as hear them, with the proper audio program as shown below.
Play an audio version of this story
This is my story about not being able to read and write very well. It took me almost twenty years to do something about it. I was very unhappy and also ashamed for fear my peers would find out and think I was really dumb.
I was a very hard worker and was able to earn enough to take care of myself, but it finally came to the point where I would not be happy with myself.
I will tell about my years in school. I had to repeat kindergarten as I was quite sick and missed so much time. I stayed in a regular class until grade five and was having a difficult time doing the work. I was then put in an occupational skills class. This still did not help me with my reading, writing or math as we spent more time learning the basic skills, and we were given French lessons even though we could not read English. I stayed in that type of class until I was sixteen years old. My mother taught me most of my reading and writing at home. I realize that the schools have changed their ways of teaching this type of class, and that we can get one on one help now that we couldn’t then.
After, I decided to quit school and go to work. I started at a sewing factory and worked there for eleven years. I did not tell them about my reading problem but it stopped me from advancing.
The management offered me a supervisor position, but I turned it down because I felt I couldn’t do the job and the staff would find out that I could not read or write very good. I went on to another sewing factory, and they did find out that I couldn’t read and write, but most of them accepted me and helped any way they could. They offered me the job of working in their store which I did off and on for ten years until they had to close down.
I went on unemployment and they assigned me a very good councilor, and she helped me get into school. When I decided to go back to school a lot of people thought I couldn’t do it, but I proved them wrong.
I started at Samaritan House in March of 1997, and after being there for a week I knew that I had made the right choice. Any time I needed help there was someone to help me. The work has been very hard but I am doing my best. If it wasn’t for Samaritan House and the teachers, I don’t know where I would be today. They have given me back my self esteem and have taught me to give as much as I take.
Samaritan House has given me the chance to learn the computer, and to read and write and has taught us to work with one another.