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Learner story archives

August 9, 2004

This week, we have a story writen by Ray Miller, from Ebenezer, Saskatchewan. Ray owns a plumbing and heating business. He is presently working on getting his GED. In May 2004, he gave a presentation at the Literacy Recognition Event at Parkland Regional College. During his spare time, Ray enjoys fishing and gardening. He and his wife have two children and six grandchildren.

My Experience in the Literacy Program

by Ray Miller

When I left school to go out into the work force, I left feeling let down. I felt like a real dummy because that is what I was told and led to believe. But I found out that I could get nowhere without an education.

So I went back to night school and got my Grade 10. Again I left feeling that there is no way I can learn this math.

I fought all the way though trade school. Without math, you're totally lost; no one would take the time to teach me, or at least try and help me. My marks were terrible, but with my skills in other parts of my trade, I made it through by the skin of my teeth. But I still was not happy about not getting through my math.

A year ago, I decided to take on a job on "Water Treatment". About 80% of this is math. That's when I decided to sign up with this program. It was very hard for me to do because I felt everyone here was going to think - " What a dummy! Over 50 and does not know his times tables and how to do fractions!" They probably learned this in Grade Three. But I still went ahead with it. I wrote a math test and received my regular mark - a wooping 38%.

But I am a very good stubborn person and went on..

This is when I met my tutor, Peg Beaton. She sat me down, and we talked for most of the first few sessions on my whole life right through school. She made me feel that there was someone who cared. Before I knew it, she had me doing math, and I was enjoying it!

I went home and worked on math like a kid with a new toy. Every test I wrote, my marks were in the 70's and 80's. Man what a feeling!

Then came the day she told me to rewrite my entry exam. Lo and behold, I pulled off a 96%. This was unbelievable!

I wrote my water treatment test and passed it with flying colors!

We are now working on a program on reading and proper study methods.

I know I'll never be a professor, but I now can face the world feeling like someone. To this, I give thanks to Peg and the Literacy Program. If I can do this, anyone can. All you have to do is open your mind. Don't let the past go with you - leave it behind. Believe in yourself. Remember one little saying I heard at our Fireman's Convention: "I'm not afraid of the storm, for I'm learning to sail my ship."

Don't think of the storms that you were through or the ones that lie ahead. With the help of this program and the people there to help us, we can all learn.

[This story was taken with permission, from Parkland Regional College Literacy Newsletter, June 2004.]

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