Postcards From The Pandemic: GED Teacher Tells Student To 'Stay Motivated'

A bookshelf holds GED study guides.
GED students are trying to keep up with their assignments from home during the coronavirus pandemic. [David Tonelson / Shuttterstock]
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Tiffany Butler teaches GED classes at Vocational Guidance Services, a career development center on Cleveland’s East Side.

The coronavirus has put in-person classes on indefinite hold. So Butler has been reaching out to her students at home, encouraging them to keep up with their studies.

On a recent afternoon, Butler called Alana Miller, a resident of the Woodhill Homes public housing neighborhood. Miller is in recovery from a stroke she suffered a few years ago, and wants to get her GED as a first step toward opening her own catering business.

ideastream postcards from the coronavirus pandemic

Tiffany Butler (TB): Hi Miss Miller.

Alana Miller (AM): Hi Miss Butler.

TB: How you doing since this break?

AM: (laughs) Fine. I miss class!

TB: I’m so glad — I miss you all too. So have you been by chance looking at your books?

AM: Yes I have.

TB: OK, that’s good.

Tiffany Butler is a GED teacher with Vocational Guidance Services of Cleveland.

Tiffany Butler checks in with her GED students during the coronavirus pandemic to help keep them motivated. [Tiffany Butler]

'I Feel Trapped'

AM: I’ve been working in my reading book, I’d say two lessons a week. But I miss the relationships that we had built over the months.

TB: Mm-hmm.

AM: Now that the school is closed, I feel trapped, less fulfilled, less motivated.


AM: It makes me feel sad in a way, because it’s putting me behind. I was hoping to be further than what I am, and I’m not.

TB: I think you’re much better than what you think you are. You may not be ready to go go yet, but you know what your goals are, Ms. Miller.

AM: Right.

TB: To get your GED. So you have to stay motivated. Like I said, read. If you watch something on TV, write a little summary or something in your notes or something like that.

'Stay School Minded'

TB: Just stay school minded. Don’t let it be like the gym, [where] you miss one day and you’ll never go back. I know you won’t do that because you want it too bad.

Alana Miller is studying for her GED from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alana Miller is studying for her GED from home during the coronavirus pandemic. [Alana Miller]

AM: Well, after my stroke, you know my confidence in myself is rather shaky. So I thank you for feeling confident in me.

TB: You’re very welcome. It’s a pleasure. When we get back I know we are going to talk for hours about what’s going on now.

AM: Yes!

TB: Ooh-wee. I know we are going to have so much to say, oh my God, talk about what we did and how we couldn’t stand it. So I can’t wait to get back. Don’t stop planning that party Ms. Miller, OK? Don’t stop planning that party.

AM: (laughs) OK.

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