I work at a company who assists the daily living tasks of mentally and physically ill persons. In the last year I was tasked with creating an education program for all individuals who were interested. The program was an amazing success with nearly all person interested who were asked. The shock still has not worn off. People who had been so torn away from reality because of their illness asked to attend. With the success I only hit a few snags along the way and those are what I would like to talk about in this post.
The first issue I had was with my own limitations. I am a college graduate, but having gone to school in previous years I had not really brushed up on the basics or foundations of academic knowledge. Math was the most common source of academic need so my class first focused on the foundations of mathematics. The first week was when I began testing to find where each person was. For the most part they all were at the same place. They had the basic understanding of arithmetic, but lacked the memorization of times tables and other operations that the majority of us take for granted.
There were a few exception and allowed me to also begin teaching higher math mainly algebra. We are opening the door on statistics and geometry though covering it fully is out of the question. I find myself even with the more advanced students covering the foundations over and over ensuring the education foundation is fixed.
Math may be the subject which I cover most, but I find English much more enjoyable. One week I brought into work some poetry from Dickinson, Poe, and Frost. Unlike a more common classroom where students fear reading aloud the people I work with all read aloud. This amazed me. I believed they would be much less likely to speak in public. Personally it took me a long time to gain the courage to simply stand up and begin public speaking, but these guys even though they would struggle on some parts of the poetry were more than willing to stand up and at least attempt reading the poem aloud.