Going from adult stu­dent to teacher

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

Un­able to do sim­ple sums and lack­ing the skills to man­age her fi­nances prop­erly, Mi­randa Cradock once dreaded classes at a Horowhenua adult learn­ing cen­tre.

Cradock, 35, said she fell through the cracks at school and missed out on learn­ing ba­sic math­e­mat­ics and life skills. It put a strain on her re­la­tion­ship and fi­nances in later life and she was barely scrap­ing by.

‘‘It was tough right through school. School is fast.’’

In 2011, she be­gan at­tend­ing the Aro­hamai Lit­er­acy Horowhenua Cen­tre in Levin to bring her skills up to scratch, and it’s changed her life.

She now tu­tors at the cen­tre as well as con­tin­u­ing to learn.

‘‘Be­fore, I couldn’t even walk through the door. I was shy. I didn’t want to open my­self up to fail­ure.’’

Now, she felt like part of a fam­ily, she said.

Aro­hamai tu­tor Daniel Bul­man said stu­dents of­ten felt like they didn’t have anything to of­fer when they first ar­rived.

‘‘They’ve of­ten been trod on a lot. Life for some rea­son has re­ally squashed their con­fi­dence.’’

Stu­dents at the cen­tre var­ied in age. One 70-year-old woman was learn­ing how to read and write and there were stu­dents that hadn’t worked for 20 years who were try­ing to up­skill and get back into the work­force, Bul­man said.

Yuri Toleafoa, 23, was an­other pupil Bul­man said hadn’t re­alised her po­ten­tial.

A hear­ing im­pair­ment meant she strug­gled to keep up at school and started learn­ing at Aro­hamai in 2015 in the hopes of achiev­ing an NCEA level one qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Toleafoa wants to im­prove her lit­er­acy skills to be­come more con­fi­dent in her search for a full­time job. Bul­man said peo­ple needed to learn com­puter, nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy skills more than ever as less fac­tory and labour­ing jobs were avail­able.

‘‘If we don’t ac­tu­ally teach them how to get a job we are not max­imis­ing the po­ten­tial of our peo­ple.’’

In 2017, the cen­tre in­tro­duced a work­place lit­er­acy course.

Stu­dents learn how to write re­sumes and they are taught about health and safety.

A lot of the stu­dents worked in jobs such as clean­ing, so health and safety was an im­por­tant is­sue, Bul­man said.

The cen­tre cel­e­brated adult learn­ing in the first week of Septem­ber with a range of events.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/STUFF

Mi­randa Cradock went to the Aro­hamai Lit­er­acy Horowhenua cen­tre to learn math­mat­ics and now works as a tu­tor there. Daniel Bul­man, right, is her men­tor.

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