This is Ricky's story…..

I have been attending evening classes at the Saint John Learning Exchange for almost a year. I am attending this class so I can read and spell words to my kids. It will be real nice to get my GED too. It would make me feel more of a dad and a man.

Public school was very hard for me because at the time I could not read or spell at all. Later on when I got older some of it came to me, but now in my classroom I feel real good and in the end I will get my GED. Life was really hard because I couldnt spell and I lost a lot of good jobs because of it. When it came to spelling and writing it was time for me to hide and because of that I would lose my job. Every day was a challenge of hiding it. You really dont have any idea of how hard it is for you not to be able to spell.

My highest level of education was grade 7 completed. I went to grade 8 but when I got to the age of 16 I went to work where at the time I didnt know my spelling. It was so hard for me in school that I was happy to be done with it but I pay for that today.

What made me improve my reading and writing skills was my boss at work so I could get a trade but then it got me to look into what other classes where there for me. Now today I want to do it myself.

Attending this class has helped me to be proud of me that I am trying to do better in my life. When I first saw the flyer about classes here the sentence that stuck in my mind was to able to write what is in your heart not just what you can spell. Because of that one sentence I finally made the decision to go through the door and admit to someone that I could not spell and that I needed help. I made it through the intake assessment but my first night of class I just sat outside in my truck debating on whether to go in or not. I was so nervous and shy. I am really glad that I did not stay in my truck that night as I met some real nice people and a wonderful teacher who with all their help have let me not feel so bad about my not being able to spell. This has allowed me to focus more on all learning and not getting hung up on one part of my learning [my spelling].

What it is like for me to learn to read and write is hard and lots of fun at the same time. My teacher is a real nice person and a great teacher who does a great job with everyone in our class. Only bad thing is its hard to work all day and go to school at night. I miss a lot of bedtimes with my kids. They will see later when they get older why I was gone all the time.

How it changed my life is I am writing this note and that makes me feel good. I enjoy reading books now and that I can read them to my kids and they love that so it helps my family out. Most of all by improving my reading and writing skills, it has helped me feel good about myself and I needed that in my life.

I also have experienced new things – places that I would have never gone before. We were given tickets to see a musical at the Imperial Theatre, I had never been inside before. I sat outside the theatre in my truck thinking I dont fit in there – I cant go in there – I dont belong. Then I saw another learner from my class and he joined me in my truck and we talked about how I was feeling. Then I saw my teacher go in and I saw her looking for us in the lobby so I felt I had to go in because I didnt want to disappoint her. It was another door in my life that Im glad I opened.

My future plan is to get good in my spelling and reading and in time take my GED. When I get my GED I know that I will get a good job that I like and will pay well. I want my kids to see that if you work hard for what you want you will get it in the end.

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