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Learner story archives

April 19, 2010

This week, our story comes from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The author, Barb Pottier, has recently been enrolled in literacy classes with the Halifax Community Learning Network. HCLN is part of the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning and offers programs in several branches of the Halifax Public Libraries.

We All Have the Right to Learn

by Barb Pottier

When people look at me, they see a very confident, strong person. But inside, I am hiding a secret. For most of my life, I could not spell, or even read very well. Here I am, middle aged, in literacy classes.

Around this time three years ago, I was talking to my husband, about my problem. The next day, he brought me home a newsletter, from the library, on literacy classes. I thought about it, for a few weeks, should I call? I decided to. It was the best call I ever made.

So I know how people feel, when they make that decision. I could not even write a few sentences without feeling, "I cannot do this." Today, I am writing a lot more, reading, understanding and also using the computer. A whole new world has opened for me. I can communicate with the outside world, find information, go to learning sites, and just explore. Now I am 50, learning and I will never give it up.

As an adult learner, I know it is not easy. To admit you have a learning problem is like telling the world that you are stupid!!!! WRONG! SO VERY WRONG!! We all have the "right to learn" no matter if we have a problem, or life just got in the way. As a learner, I would like tell you I started with small goals, with each goal come some challenges.

I have a bigger goal now. I would like to help others, with learning problems. I may never be able to teach, but somehow, some way, I will get the word out. There is help out there, just do not give up. Believe in yourself. With faith the darkness, will turn into light, in our hearts and minds.

These days, I am more confident, and ready to move on with my life. I have just accepted a promotion at work, after 20 years, of being too scared to even apply. In these last few years, I have a new appreciation for writing, telling stories, reading letters and getting the word out there. I say to anybody with a learning problem, or who just got left behind, there are programs out there "free’ for the taking, loving teachers to offer encouragement every step of the way.

I am now a life time learner!! It has not always been easy, but life is not easy. With a little help and faith we can have our dreams come true!

[This story was taken with permission, from Celebrating the Right to Learn!, p. 46, a collection of stories submitted to Literacy Nova Scotia for the Adult Learners' Week Contest in March 2008.]

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