Here is a letter from a mother who attended an Introduction to Second Level Maths course when her children were moving into First year.
Dear Ms Flanagan
I recently attended the North Clare Opportunities Event in Ennistymon and was introduced to you by an Adult Literacy Tutor.
I first met the tutor in September of 2008 when I attended a series of evenings to introduce parents to the mathematics that their children in first year of secondary school would experience. One of my daughters had been identified as having dyscalculia and although she wasn’t due to go to secondary school until September 2009, I felt the funding may not be available 12 months on, and so I should seize the opportunity and go in September 2008. I was aghast at the detail in mathematics which my children would face and quickly realised that I would be quite useless should they ask me anything related to the course when they were doing homework. The tutor provided a number of supports that we could use once the course was over – relevant websites as well as an extremely useful book: Usborne’s Dictionary of Mathematics. These have since come in extremely useful.
However, I think one of the most useful things to come out of the course was that it caused me to assess my own position both in terms of parenting and what I could achieve when returning to the workplace. I was feeling quite inadequate and particularly out of date and out of touch with modern education. This resulted in me deciding to return to full-time education and I went on to apply for a FETAC Level 5 business course in North Clare. I took eleven modules, one of which was mathematics. The mathematics part of the course took place after Christmas, so I had plenty of time to change my mind about taking that module – the longer I had to think about it, the more determined I was not to do that part of the course. However after trying to ditch it several times, the two administrators on the course – convinced me that there was no harm in trying – and that I should just give it a go.
Day one only reinforced my view – the first subject we were to tackle was algebra – something I had completely skipped because I had a fundamental disconnect with the logic – I couldn’t follow the process and after trying in secondary school, I just gave up and said it was something I would never understand. So I just parked it, avoided any questions related to it in my exams, never went back to it and never gave it a second thought. Until the Spring of 2011.
I was delighted to get my results of the FETAC Level 5 business course and all the additional modules I tackled. But I was completely and utterly over the moon to realise I had achieved a distinction in my mathematics. For me, this was a mountain I had to climb. But the teaching was more modern, the teacher understood exactly how we felt, and I was delighted that no question I asked was too foolish – no matter how many times I asked it. Once I had learned and understood algebra, I felt the rest of the mathematics course would be less of a struggle, and I gained a huge leap of confidence from that alone.
In the autumn of 2011 I decided to take the FETAC Level 6 Business course – again in North Clare. I will happily sing the praises of the adult education facility at the school because of my own personal experience. That was the reason I was invited to the North Clare Opportunities Event to represent the adult student body of the school and I can definitely say that I am 100% more confident now than I was in September 2008 and I would certainly stand a much better chance when applying for work.
All the success I have achieved, can be directly attributed to the initial course which the Adult Literacy service ran back in 2008.
So I would like to say a huge thank you to you and the Adult Literacy Tutor for opening the door and lighting the path to what, for me, will be a much more fulfilling and rewarding future.