26TEN celebrates a decade of making a difference

26TEN celebrates a decade of making a difference

26TEN, Tasmania’s statewide campaign for adult literacy and numeracy, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. 26TEN takes a unique approach to improving skills by uniting businesses, communities and individuals to work together to offer support where and when it is needed.

As part of the celebration 26TEN invited people who had improved their literacy to share their story and receive a prize.

Brian was a participant who wrote his own story and said that we can share it below. His experience illustrates the transformative impact of 26TEN, and the impact of adult literacy educators in Australia who work with adults to improve their literacy and numeracy. Brian’s story also highlights the important role of the Hotline in connecting people to help.

It is also a powerful reminder of the courage of our learners.

Brian’s story

“For the best part of 55 years I have had a problem with my spelling and punctuation. This is something I have carried through my life, and although it was annoying, I did not see it as a real problem because I had developed ways in which to overcome any embarrassment it would cause me….

I work very early shift at my place of employment, and I like to have a cup of tea in the lunchroom before I start my shift. Each morning it seemed the same advertisement would come on the television for the Reading Writing Hotline.  After a couple of weeks, I started to feel these ads were being directed at me. This is when I decided I would pluck up the courage and give the phone number a call. This was by far the hardest and most rewarding call I have ever made.

When I say the phone call was the hardest, I have ever made, I mean that without reservation. To have a problem like this that you have hidden from everyone but your closest love one’s for fear of embarrassment, and then to make it public, is a very daunting thing to do, as it is an admission by you that you have a flaw in your character which needs addressing.

While on the phone to the lady from the Hot Line she gave me the contact number for my local contact at libraries Tasmania….. This was the start of my incredible learning journey. At my first meeting, I was welcomed in the politest most nonjudgmental way. This reception just made my fears of being looked down upon slip away.

It only took two sessions to make me realise that I had become part of a very special organisation, with the wellbeing of people and their education at the forefront of their charter.

I have now been attending my classes for five months on a weekly basis, in this time I have learnt to set out a letter, email, short story or other pieces of writing with proper paragraphs, and with punctuation which has greatly improved but is not yet perfect….

The debt of gratitude that I owe personally I am afraid I can never repay. But please understand that you have made the world of difference to me for the rest of my life…“