Almaz is a student at Elk River Adult Basic Education (ABE); there she studies math, conversation, reading skills, grammar, and career exploration. While her school routine has changed during the pandemic, she says her classes are as good as ever, and it’s even more convenient for her and her family than before.
“My husband takes me to school. . . Sometimes he can’t.” Almaz doesn’t drive, so if her husband couldn’t drive her to school because of his schedule, she would miss class. With online classes, Almaz can attend every session. She consistently studies five days a week. Almaz, and her teacher Rallou Rice, say she studies more than ever before with distance learning, and Almaz’s attendance has improved. It has become a lot easier for her and her family, and she attends every class she can.
Almaz is a mother. “Because of COVID my daughter studies online; I can’t take her with me [to my school].” With Metro North ABE’s distance learning, Almaz is able to safely stay at home with her daughter while still attending her classes. “It’s good for me!”
Elk River provides all levels of instruction from ESL to High School Diploma equivalency to college readiness. Teachers and staff get to know every student, and they select courses to meet each student’s goals; this makes the students and staff at Elk River a very close community.
“I have friends from school. . . . the teacher is a friend also. . . . it’s like family,” and that closeness has not been lost during the move to distanced learning. Almaz says that students socialize often, sending emails and voice chatting. “The teachers and the students, we talk together.” They even spend their mornings socializing before they start their studies. “When [we] go to school, we eat breakfast all together with the teachers and the students and talk for ten minutes.”
When asked if she liked in-person class or distance learning better, she said with a laugh, “Both of them!”
Caileena Lind, 2021
ABE Volunteer and Outreach Assistant Coordinator