The GHCC Blog Team recently caught up with Gusman “Teddy” Edouard , Assistant Director of GHCC’s Adult Learning Center. Teddy was recently awarded a COABE Scholarship Award from the Maryland Association of Adult Community and Continuing Education.
Congratulations on your scholarship award! Can you tell us about your position and your primary responsibilities at the Adult Learning Center?
As the Assistant Director of the Adult Learning Center, in a nutshell, I teach English and Civics class twice a week, coordinate the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, assist with scheduling the ALC classes, and act as a resource person for the ALC instructors. I also plan, develop, and organize professional development for the teaching team, in collaboration with the Adult Basic Education Instructional Specialist. Furthermore, I lead the learner outreach process and help with class registration and preparation. Lastly, I contribute to the program evaluation and improvement.
What did you do before coming to the ALC?
Before joining the ALC I worked as an ESOL instructor and trainer in a variety of contexts, but my immediate previous position was a Cross-Border Program Coordinator at Plan International, where I used local US Embassies’ grant money to create the first Bi-National English Camp for teachers and high school students from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
What a great background. Can you tell us what you like best about your job at the Adult Learning Center?
The best thing about what I do on daily basis is putting my passion into action. I really enjoy the fact that at the ALC we work together like a navy seal team; we train together, have each other’s backs, and we share one mission — providing quality learner-centered instruction to promote literacy and help foreign-born residents improve their English language skills. In other words, we put the learners at the center of our day-to-day practices and decisions. I really enjoy being part of an effective and efficient team that puts people first. On top of that, my job is very satisfying. It has allowed me to contribute to making Baltimore a Strong City by serving both natives of Baltimore and immigrants from all over the world. And seeing learners’ progress and achievements always makes my day.
What do you find most challenging about your job at the ALC?
I believe education is the silver bullet that can transforms Baltimore city; however, life’s challenges and distractions make it difficult for lots of folks to take advantage of our free classes and achieve their educational goals. That being said, students’ retention has been one of the biggest challenges I face in my line of work. That is, keeping learners engaged and motivated is what the ALC teachers work to do day-by-day. And part of my job is to help alleviate the impact of learners’ attrition on the performance of our program as a whole through the betterment of our professional development sessions and the quality of classroom instruction, using technologies to create real and authentic learning opportunities.
What do you plan to do with the scholarship award you are receiving?
My scholarship award will go toward covering expenses related to courses I take at Purdue University, such as Instructional Design and Technology. In addition, the fund will cover my subscription to a scientific journal in Instructional Design.
That’s terrific! What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the growth of Adult Education in Baltimore City?
The top challenge is funding. Adult education providers in Baltimore do not have the necessary funding to effectively meet the needs of the adult learners, nor can they afford to hire full-time teachers and purchase the appropriate 21st century technologies that can facilitate students’ access to the indispensable skills necessary for quality jobs. This is unfortunate because whether we like it or not, parents’ education level has a big impact on their children’s educational achievement. That is to say, investing in adult education is the right thing to do if we want to also strengthen the K-12 system, which in turn will lead to improved high school graduation rates.
You give so much passion and energy to your job. What do you like to do in your time away from work?
I like spending time with my family, hanging out with my friends, and reading about the new trends in ESOL and Instructional Design. I take pleasure in working on small projects around my house. Lastly, I enjoy riding my bike around Lake Montebello and at Druid Hill Park.
Thank you, Teddy, for sharing your work and vision for adult learning with us. And congratulations on your award!