After improving literacy in Waukesha County, Wisconsin for twelve years,
I am excited to work with a fabulous Board of Directors to take LITERACY to a whole new level!
By Cathy Kozlowicz
COLLEGE STILL ACHIEVABLE
It was my past boyfriend’s mother who actually empowered me to start College STILL Achievable. Don’t get me wrong. It is not that I had this idea 20 years ago (when we dated), and I just got around to doing it now.
It was her story, in fact, that built my philosophy behind starting this organization.
My past boyfriend’s mother was very talented in fashion design. My boyfriend, at the time, always said, “She can design the perfect outfit for anyone.”
“Even you,” he said. I probably should have walked out on the relationship right then, but if I did, I never would have met his mother.
His mother had this talent of designing clothes; this was what she was meant to do. She was good at it. Great at it, even.
She, however, worked in fast food.
Why wasn’t she designing clothes? She was very intelligent, could really stretch a dollar, was excellent at dealing with people, was perceptive and had great business acumen.
So, why wasn’t she designing clothes?
“She never did well in school,” he explained.
Over the past twenty years, I met so many people like her. People, who use their high school experiences to determine their future academic success.
Not really a good idea.
I have had many conversations with students through the years. They usually went like this:
Student: I want to go to school for nursing.
Me: Great! What is holding you back?
Student: I never did well in school. Especially math.
Me: Why is math hard for you?
Student: I never did well in high school. I never understood what the teacher was saying. I fooled around in class.
Me: Why do you think you are terrible in math?
Student: I took a math test last week, and it showed I am terrible in math.
After working with hundreds of students, I go through about the basic conversation. With each one.
A couple of points worth mentioning:
Yes, if you have not touched math in 20 years, of course you will not do well on a math test now.
Yes, if you think you are poor in math, you may not have felt comfortable asking your math teacher to clarify, asking questions or seeing him after class.
Yes, if you were fooling around in class, it probably did not help you in understanding math
Many of my students who would be excellent nurses, fashion designers or welders would be excellent in their jobs. They are hands on learners.
Hands on learners do not often succeed in a traditional classroom; they learn from their jobs. They don’t like to be lectured, they prefer to do the action.
I have seen hands on learners label themselves as having a learning disability or being a slow learner. Which is not true. They just have not grasped how to use their learning style. I feel a tutor, who can explain it all to them, will help.
We just need to help these students one-on-one with math, reading comprehension, writing or whatever it takes to use their talents in the community.
To live their fullest potential.