It may be hard to believe in this day and age that thousands of American adults are illiterate and need help with basic reading, writing, and math.
Lacey Frasier and Chris Cromer are both students in the high school diploma program at Turner Job Corps. Lacey withdrew from school in the ninth grade and Chris dropped out of school after he turned 16 in the eighth grade. Both say they came to Turner Job Corps because they wanted help with the basics as well as learning a particular trade to become more employable.
Delores Hancock is one of the literacy professors at Turner Job Corps and she says teaching adults is completely different than teaching young students. "The students who come here are behind and they know they're behind in the basics. You have to make them feel comfortable that you care about their learning and that they can learn at the level they are at" says Hancock.
Hancock says three keys to success with teaching adults aren't related to teaching techniques. Hancock recommends knowing the adult's background, personalized attention, and letting the student know that you truly care about their success.
"I have to be innovative with my students and talk about things that are present. I have to teach math in terms of the money in their wallet" says Hancock.
Students in the class say a respectful atmosphere helps the learning process because it can be embarrassing not being able to do basic reading, writing, and math.
Lacey Frasier says Hancock goes above what an average teacher would do to help her students. "She actually got my desk and put it by her desk so I could ask her questions and she wouldn't get angry or frustrated, she really helped me learn" says Frasier.
Hancock uses different kinds of motivation including family situations if the student is also a parent. "I ask them if they are willing to tell their child that they can't read to them. That will motivate any parent to want to do better " says Hancock. Chris Cromer is the father of a two year old girl. "Ms. Hancock is very encouraging and that makes me want to come to class every day."
Hancock says she enjoys teaching young adults and fully expects Lacey, a culinary arts major, and Chris, a facility maintenance specialist to succeed after graduation. Lacey wants to own her own restaurant one day and Chris wants to be the head of maintenance at an apartment complex. Both say failure is not an option and they will work hard to make their dreams come true.
"When my students go from not reading to reading and you see the look on their faceâ|it's amazing. Once they realize they can do something, they start to reach for higher goals and they take off" says Hancock.
To volunteer to help adults learn to read contact the Dougherty County Family Literacy Center at 229-888-2414.