When "Unprecedented" is Good

2020 n09

child working at computer

Twice a week, Mrs. W logs into an online meeting platform and connects with a family across town. The three siblings are lined up, ready to work with her for about 20 minutes each. Their father is there, too. He follows along, encouraging the children, but he usually learns a few new things himself, too.

This father is very smart, but in the conflict-ridden country of his birth, he didn’t have the opportunities available to his children here in Knoxville. Now, in front of a computer screen, his enthusiasm for learning surely inspires his children! (By the way, when they’re not using the computer, he’s working on his GED online.)

As a society, we never imagined we would grow tired of the word, “unprecedented,” but the pandemic and ensuing social isolation mean we’re forging new paths in many areas of our lives. In some ways, “unprecedented” is good. For example, these three children have an unprecedented advocate—a tutor of their own, who, among other things, assessed each one’s reading level and continues to help them improve, based on the KCS@Home material. She joins their parents and their Knox County Schools teachers to ensure these youngsters succeed!

After just two weeks of consistent meetings, Mrs. W says she could “see that they trusted me and looked forward to our lessons.” She grabbed hold of this simple but unprecedented opportunity to encourage and support an international family. She went on, “I hope my efforts let them know someone cares about their academic success; that they will grow confident in their reading and speaking abilities with the English language.”


Because the pandemic continues to isolate people, we're continuing to connect with families individually, either in person or online. If you would like to support and encourage an international family through English language learning and cultural mentoring (called the LaMP program), reach out to our volunteer coordinator today!

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