International Women’s Day 2019: ‘I took what I learned back home and it helped push my daughter ahead’

Mother Helping Teenage Daughter With Homework

To mark International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the achievements of two inspirational women studying English at Havering Adult College. Here they share their experience of adult education and explain how it has transformed not just their lives, but their daughters’ lives too.

Lauren, Collier Row


Lauren approached a home school support worker at her daughter’s school and asked if they could help her with reading and writing.


“At the school, they have 15 minutes in the mornings where parents come in the classroom. I would never want to go in because I felt like I wasn’t ever going to be able to read a book and I didn’t want to embarrass myself sitting there trying. Now I can actually go in and do it!


“It’s nice being able to sit with my daughter and do homework with her. I never used to send homework in, but I want her to be better than that.


“We use flashcards with my youngest as well. I should’ve kept it at when I was younger, but that’s why I want to do it now: to help them.”


As part of the course, Lauren learned how to write for different purposes. She was quick to put her new skills to use to tackle a housing problem.


“I wrote a letter to the council and it got resolved, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do before.”


Lauren says school wasn’t the right place for her to learn, but Havering Adult College couldn’t be any more different.


“It’s calmer; there are less people in the class, so you get more one-to-one time. When I ask for help, the teacher is right there.


“I’ve learned more here in a few months then I did throughout my entire time at school!”


So what’s next for Lauren?


“I’ve got a Level 1 childcare qualification, so I’d like to go on to do Level 2 and 3, find work and provide for my children.


“I want them to have a better life.”


Louise, Collier Row


When her daughter was in junior school teachers asked why Louise wasn’t picking up on certain mistakes in the homework.


“The level they learn at now is much more advanced then what I left school with,” says Louise, “so I knew I needed to go back to college, update my skills, and catch up.”


Once she got back into the classroom, things she’d thought were long forgotten started coming back.


“I realised I’m a lot better than I thought I was. It’s given me the confidence to be able to do things like fill things out like forms and write without abbreviations or looking up what things mean.”


“A friend of mine has a habit of sending emails that are more like essays. I would reply ‘ok’ or say ‘We’ll talk more when I see you’, but now I can write an essay back to her and communicate better with people in general.”


She says the hardest part of the course was getting feedback on what she needed to improve on.


“I soon realised that you need it because it challenges you to do better.”


Louise’s mum and dad left school at 14 and can’t read or write, so she says they were not able to help her at school.


But she wants to change that with her daughter.


“On a previous English course I did here I learned about verbs and adjectives. My daughter was learning the same topic at junior school but was behind the rest of the class.


“I took what I learned back home and taught it to her and it helped push her ahead. Now, when I go to parent’s evenings, the teachers tell me how well she is doing.


“I asked her why she’s so smart, and she says ‘because you helped me’.


“I’m so proud of her. Something as simple as sitting with her then has made a big difference in her life, and mine.”

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