Meet Some of Our Tutors
Behind every amazing students is an equally amazing tutor. In the last year, Southwest Valley Literacy tutors provided 10,000 hours of tutoring to West Valley adults! Read about our tutors and see what motivates them to volunteer their time to help improve the lives of others. We hope to see your picture here soon.
Michael Yáñez McPherson
My name is Michael and I have enjoyed teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) with Southwest Valley Literacy Association (SVLA) for three years. I researched school and church programs before finding this program. SVLA provides the training, materials and the students that enable me to contribute to the community and to SVLA.
My plan is to live and teach in Latin America in the future. The business climate and their global economies provide opportunities to teach English skills in Latin American. Using my certifications in both ESL and Teaching Business English along with my experience at SVLA will help me have an impact on Latin American communities.
I’ve tutored six students from Mexico and El Salvador. Most have labor jobs with aspirations to own their own business or continue onto higher education. The younger students are working toward citizenship and want to attend the university. Older students often plan to return to their home country after their children leave home, preferring the quality of life there.
The English language and U.S. culture is complex and challenging for ESL students. For me, it is personally rewarding when I learn that a student receives a promotion at work, a father now helps his child with their homework in English, or a student extends his business to the English speaking market because of newfound confidence. Their personal accomplishments are the reason I teach.
My friends frequently ask me, where I find time for all my interests. I tell them that I never need to find the time. I make the time because I feel a strong connection to others and the need to serve them, which is no different from meeting the responsibilities to my family.
Linda and Joe Schuette
Linda and Joe have been tutoring in Arizona for three years. Linda had a head-start on volunteering with Literacy Center of Omaha (named 2013 Volunteer of the Year) for three years before they retired. Joe owned his own business and Linda helped with the books along with being a full-time Realtor. After moving to Arizona, Joe followed Linda’s lead into English tutoring with SVLA. They both find tutoring to be very rewarding and a great way to “give back.”
What works for Linda and Joe is to volunteer on the same day so that they have more free time to do the other things they want to do in retirement. They tutor their students at the Civic Center library in Avondale. Their students have been both men and women of different ages from Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
They both feel fulfilled when their students reach their goals. Helping a student pursue her GED, seeing a very smart student get a better job after only four months of tutoring, or celebrating with a Japanese mom who gained enough confidence to make a presentation on eating with chopsticks in front of her son’s class. Those successes and the friendships they form with their students is what drives Linda and Joe.
Neither Joe nor Linda have a teaching background. Along with the Laubach teaching materials, they both develop supplemental exercises tailored to a student’s interests to stimulate learning.
Joe and Linda sometimes hear people say that they are bored in retirement. They encourage their friends to check out SVLA’s tutoring program. They tell them they won’t be bored and they tell them how much fun they’re having