Why is Ellen Here?
(submitted by CEO instructor Ellen Klement – ICCS West Facility in Lakewood)
“Can you imagine going through your day and not being able to read” the ad said. ‘A day’? I asked myself, I can’t imagine going through my life without being able to read. I sat and thought about all I have learned and enjoyed from a skill I use almost every hour of every day. I knew I had found my next volunteer opportunity.
Through an agency in Glenwood Springs I began my teaching career, though I didn’t know it at the time. I spent four out of five years with one family being a volunteer tutor for English Speakers of other Languages. Three adult siblings, with their spouses and children all living under one roof, spent one night a week studying with me to gain the skills needed to become valuable members of our community. The one sister went from selling clothing out of their house to opening her own clothing store in Rifle in 2007. Another was able to obtain employment which helped provide additional income for the family. I learned many instructional skills for teaching adults while tutoring in a one-on-one setting.
Career Path Change
In 2010, after moving back to Denver, I changed careers from counseling to teaching full time. I moved from individual tutoring to having my own classroom of adult students within the Aurora Public Schools. Through a family literacy program, I assisted the parents of the children with learning English and learning new ways of interacting with their children to help foster a love of learning. My new career proved to be a nice blend of both my past counseling experience with the instructional skills I had learned while volunteering.
Within the family literacy program, a few of my students were also studying to take the GED exams and I gained more confidence with assisting them practice the skills needed to earn their high school equivalency diploma. The last three years I have solely been focusing on assisting students with developing the skills necessary to change their lives by completing their educational goals.
In February of 2016, I was in need of additional employment and saw the advertisement for a part time instructor with CEO. I realize the difference an education can make in a person’s life and knew I could help CEO students access their own personal way of learning to master the skills needed for educational and employment success. It has been a pleasure to watch my students realize they are smart and can master math, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Working at CEO allows me to use my counseling experience to help the students overcome the barriers which have gotten in the way of their educational success in the past. Every day I get to see the lightbulb moments as students realize, “I can do this”.