Writing class teacher Betty Rasmussen has taught many different people over the years – she started her career in the corporate world, providing trainings and education to employees. In 2004, Betty decided to pursue something she had always wanted to do: teaching English to speakers of other languages. Betty first taught at Northern Virginia Community College before making the transition to Literacy Council of Northern Virginia as a volunteer. When the opportunity to helm LCNV’s pilot writing class came up, Betty knew it would be the right fit for her.
The pilot writing class is one part of LCNV’s cutting-edge model to make literacy more accessible to adult learners. It exists as a Skills-based class, which focuses on enhancing the abilities of learners who have moved beyond LCNV’s beginning-level courses and want to hone specific language skills. For the fourteen students in Betty’s class, writing English is a stepping stone to reaching their personal goals. Each student has their own reason for improving their writing: some want to move onto college, others would like to open a business, and some want to communicate better with their child’s teachers.
Writing class teacher Betty Rasmussen
When asked about what has improved the most for students from the beginning of the course, Betty replies “confidence, and skills such as proofreading and using standard punctuation and grammar.” Over the period of six weeks, her students have begun self-correcting their writing, writing paragraphs with unified topics, and are far more confident in their writing abilities. Student’s control of sentence structure has also improved, and their vocabulary has expanded. Through weekly exercises, students experience the process of writing and revising a coherent and well-crafted paragraph.
When asked about her experience at LCNV, Betty mentions the importance of the Skills-based programs to English learners. “The Literacy Council fills an important gap between basic English classes and advanced ESOL college courses,” she states. What is her favorite part of teaching at LCNV? The answer is simple: “The students are very motivated; it’s a delight to teach them.”