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