"I began with TFL in 2002, having retired after 35 years teaching biology in the Monson schools. I read about TFL in the paper and I thought I could be of value to someone who wanted guidance in GED and Reading/Writing. I've always been associated with science and I wanted to learn about R/W, and the arts in general, to be able to write better. I feel glad to be able to help people. My interest in learning about ESL arose because I have been studying the Romance languages - French and Spanish - and this experience means I can identify with someone who is learning English. I've found teaching to be an opportunity to see other people as myself instead of looking at that other person and saying, 'since they are not able to speak English they are not accepted.' I know they are as capable of learning English as I am of learning their language, should I have to. I've always seen me and my student as the same and let them know that. They've taught me things I've found very useful. We can share the experience of learning together. I think TFL is the most unique organization outside of the public education system. It's extremely directed toward a need that everyone should have access to. It's a very uplifting experience offered by TFL - it gives me an opportunity to help someone."
Joe has worked with at least 3 people in the GED program and now he is working with a young Korean woman to help her improve her reading and writing. Joe is trained as an interpreter of American history (1790-1840) and works at Sturbridge Village. He also mentors a young boy with whom he works on projects.