News & Blog: Learner Stories


By Cynthia Salinas, Communications Coordinator

Jose is from a small agricultural community in Mexico. His family includes himself, his wife, and their two children, ages three and seven years old. His childhood consisted of studying and working to help his family. He came to the U.S. less than a year ago. It is his dream to, as he says, "Sacar a mi familia adelante" (Move my family forward).

When asked what family means to him, Jose responds, "Muy importante y me impulsa a seguir adelante" (Very important and drives me to keep going). To Jose, family is a top priority.

Jose says that he wants to learn English to "saber mas y entender mas sobre citas medicas para mi familia, las 'meetings' de la escuela, conversaciones, y para no tener otra persona para ayudarme entender" (know more and understand more about medical appointments for my family, schoo meetings, conversations, and not have another person to help me understand). 

Jose shares, “Sometimes, when make calls to my daughter’s school, I am to say my problem is my daughter can’t go to school. I don’t need other people call for me. I try to call.”

Jose began taking our online English classes with the Family Literacy Program (FLP) in February 2021. His goals were to learn more and apply himself. His instructor at the time (now FLP’s new director) Bree Straayer, says, “Jose was one of my most attentive students. I would always see him writing notes in class and taking pictures of the slides on the computer screen.” She continues, “He attended morning class even while working 3rd shift and caring for his young girls. I would often see them pop in and out of the screen as he attended to them. His laugh and smile contributed greatly to our class community, and he always helped keep our class upbeat and full of energy." 

Although Jose did not have many barriers in taking the English classes, he did feel tired at times because of taking morning classes after working late. Nonetheless, Jose saw the need and persevered. After 40 hours of class, Jose post-tested two literacy levels higher than his pre-test.

To someone considering taking the classes, he advises, "que dedique tiempo y le eche ganas"(devote time to it and place effort into it). He adds, "estudiar un poco más porque yo no tenía tiempo para estudiar después de las clases porque tenía que dormir"(study a little more because I did not have the time to study after classes because I had to sleep). 

Jose appreciates Bree’s patience and willingness. In describing his class, he says," Se siente comodo. Me siento comodo" (It feels comfortable. I feel comfortable). It seems that he plans to be back for classes in the fall. 

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