Linda Waldron, a learner with NALA’s Tutoring Service, describes how responding to a NALA advertisement changed her life.
“In school I did up to the Leaving Certificate but at the same time I was working from 4.30am in Liffey Valley cleaning to 8.30am and then going to school. I missed a lot of days because I was just so tired. But I loved the working life.
“In school I was a bit wild. I didn’t want to be in school. I loved sports so I wanted to be outside, playing football and being out. But as I got older, I really regretted not paying attention. It is so important for young people and I really regret it. When I was reading a book, I wouldn’t know a word – it wouldn’t make sense. In school I was afraid to read, I thought I’d be laughed at. I wasn’t sure what the words were and wasn’t comfortable to try.”
“It was so frustrating. And it wasn’t the teachers fault. They were trying to help but I was just annoyed and frustrated. It is really hard in a classroom. If you had ideas, you were afraid to speak out, you weren’t sure if you were even on the right track. It makes everything really difficult.”
“I did the Leaving Cert Applied and got through all the projects but my attendance let me down. But it was okay, I loved working and helping people. I didn’t put myself first, or my own needs first. I feel like I lost out on things, I was embarrassed. I felt more or less people would make fun of you if you didn’t know a simple word, it left me mortified and ashamed.
“I now work as a cleaner in the Department of Social Welfare and it is a great job, but I don’t want to always be doing cleaning, I want to improve my skills. I think I have a lot to give.”
“During the pandemic I saw the NALA advertisement on Facebook and I just said I am going to make a change for myself. I am going to help myself and learn to read and write. It was a big step for me, I usually hold myself back from anything like that. And it was the best thing I ever did.”
“Every Monday evening I chat to my tutor and I look forward to it. It is a free education – what more can you ask for? A woman was retiring in the Social Welfare office and I was reading out some of the messages to her, and someone commented on how I had came on so much and how terrific it was. I knew big words I didn’t know before.
“And as I was reading, I was listening to myself get more confident, I was like a 10-year-old kid in school reading in front of the teacher. I have 12 nieces and now I can help the younger ones. I’d recommend it to anyone who is struggling with reading or writing.
“There are even courses you can do after and I am hoping to do some computer stuff and then maybe work towards an office job.”
If you or anyone you know would like to improve their reading, writing or digital skills call NALA on Freephone 1800 20 20 65 or text LEARN to 50050
Image: © Michael Donnelly Photography 2021.