Each One Teach One is attributed to African-American history but the author is unknown. The idea behind this was that slaves who could read would make it their duty to teach someone else to read. Blacks were not considered equal, there was no formal education system for them. Slaves were kept ignorant, relying on information from their owners and the law makers.
Now, books are such a common thing that it’s difficult to imagine there are still people who don’t read. People who CAN’T read. Working with my ESL folks, I realized that not only was English a challenge, reading was a challenge. I struggled with the idea that I needed additional training, where in the world would I find the time to learn how to effectively teach? The Delaware County Literacy County had the answer.
The ad stated: If you have time, talent, and energy, you can make a difference by becoming a literacy tutor to a Delaware County adult.
I knew once the school year began I wouldn’t have the time between sports, music, and my boo-hooing about The Teen being at university, so I signed up for two Saturday sessions to become a tutor for Adult Basic Education. I’m excited to be able to give something back outside of work hours, but I’m saddened to think that there are adults who will need my service.
As the instructor rattled off facts about adult illiteracy, recounting the story of a person that had graduated high school but could only read at a second grade level, I seethed inside. Telling my sister about the training, I asked “Who’s ass do you kick first? The school for passing this child along? The parent for not advocating for their child? The teachers who only teach so the child can pass a standardized test? Or the law makers who make these test mandatory?”
Rather than kick ass, I took notes and learned how to make both me as the tutor and my potential student feel comfortable and get something out of our time together.
If you would like to become a tutor, contact the Delaware County Literacy Council. DCLC provides free individual and small-group reading, math, and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to adults with low literacy skills. Tutors meet one on one with students at times and locations convenient to their schedules. Training for volunteer reading tutors will be held at DCLC, 2217 Providence Avenue, Chester, PA 19013. Pre-registration and attendance at all sessions are required. To learn more, visit, or call at 610-876-4811.