“I just want to learn to read”

lovely spring morning
[The government of New Brunswick] is initiating a process to develop quality service and assurance standards relating to program design, content, delivery, and support systems to ensure uniform, quality and meaningful learner experiences….
Working Together for Adult Literacy (2009)

It was a lovely spring evening.  Families were sitting out on their stoops as we pulled the wagon past. At one house, a mom I knew came down off her stoop and asked, "You still don't have any room in your class?"

What?

"Your class. You still don't have any room in it, right? I been calling."

It always takes me a moment to shift from one role to another.  My class and bookwagon are two different programs delivered through two different organizations and with quite different limitations.  But, of course, it all looks the same to the neighbours.

No, that's right.  My classes are full right now.

I encouraged her to keep calling "every couple of weeks."

"I just want to learn to read," she said.

Yeah, I know.  I know.

But the classes are organized and standardized and streamlined and uniform and regulated and locked down in such a way that I can't possible respond right there, right then.

We meet them where they are, wherever they are, and we provide what they want in that moment, Ginny says.

Yeah.  I know.  I know.

Except, mostly we don't.

Diversity, Uniformity, Contradictions

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