My name is Gayle Hollins, and I am a recent retiree, having worked the corporate world for 40 years. I always knew that when I retired, I wanted to become a volunteer adult literacy tutor.
I am inspired by the courage it takes for an adult to make the decision and the commitment to learn to read. I believe that being a tutor is a partnership between the tutor and the student; a partnership built on trust, mutual respect and patience for the learning process. The student and the tutor work together to reach the student’s goals. As a tutor, I succeed when my student succeeds.
Being paired with Sharon has been and continues to be a privilege. She comes to each session motivated, enthusiastic and ready to learn. Never have I experienced a negative session with Sharon. Even when the material is more difficult, she is always determined to master it – she NEVER gives up. However, tutoring virtually has presented some challenges. More than once, we have had technical difficulties with sound, seeing each other or me trying to share my screen with Sharon. But through it all, we have always been able to figure it out.
The day that Sharon reaches all her goals will be a day of rejoicing for both of us because when she succeeds, I succeed.
From time to time we all could benefit from a little extra help, but it is super hard to admit or ask for help. In my case I needed help in verbal language skills, like grammar, writing and reading, but not math.
I tried to take an English course at a local college. OMG! It was like practicing oral surgery without ever have any schooling/license or the right tools. I needed something else. Although I picked up several good things from the college course, I still wasn’t there yet.
I saw an ad in the local newspaper about reading and writing and decided to pick up the phone and give The READ Center a call. I set up an appointment in order to be tested for placement. I was told my skill level was too high. I explained that it was not true. I told the Center, “If you work with me long enough you will see that I need additional help.” So, I was given a chance!
I started working with a tutor and then COVID hit and so much for that. Then one day, I received a call from The Read Center, and I was asked, “Are you still interested in a tutor. We have someone that’s available to work with you. Are you okay with virtual tutoring?” I said yes. This is how team Gayle and Sharon was born!! 😊
Upon meeting Gayle, the first thing I noticed was Gayle and I had so much in common. She is a great communicator, and I noticed I couldn’t get away with nothing with her – not pronunciation, spelling, writing, grammar or reading assignments. Nothing. She will not give you the answer. She will show you and tell you how to figure it out and then, you have to figure it out. You can’t even read fast with Gayle. I have tried it. She makes you slow down and read each word. In each session, I laugh so much while learning about grammar, writing and even history. The one thing that I used to say all the time when giving answers or explaining something was “they said.” Gayle would always ask, “who is they?” Well, guess what, now when people say to me “they said,” my favorite question is “who is they?” 😊
I’m so happy that I discovered The Read Center and Gayle. Always remember the first step is admitting that you need extra help and then asking for it.