Our volunteer spotlight this month is Tad Deshler. Tad has been tutoring at Literacy Source for over a year now tutoring Prasert, a student from Thailand, in the ESOL 2B-3 class. Working with Tad has helped Prasert build his confidence in English and the writing and spelling work they do together allows Prasert to take the lead and mentor his classmates during literacy activities. He's showed great progress!
Here are some questions we asked Tad:
Where are you originally from? If you’re not from Seattle what brought you here?
I grew up in Los Angeles, but I've lived in Seattle since 1989. I came here to do fisheries work in the Bering Sea, through NOAA's Seattle regional office, and never left.
Please share something of your life so far and what you would like to do in the future.
I've been an environmental consultant for almost 30 years now. I have my own business and work out of my house, which gives me the flexibility to do volunteer work. I plan to work for at least 10 more years, but I'm trying to develop various volunteer practices now so I'll have something fulfilling to do when I retire. When not working, I love to read, travel, play volleyball, kayak, paddleboard, and cheer for our Seattle Sounders.
Why did you choose to volunteer at LS?
My wife is a reading teacher and I first heard about LS from her. I like the LS tutoring model of working closely with individuals over long periods of time. I don't have a formal teaching background, but in my scientific career I have done a great deal of training and mentoring, so I thought this would be a good fit for me.
What do you like about volunteering at LS?
I have very much enjoyed getting to know Prasert. I also enjoy the challenge of finding curriculum that is appropriate for him. I try to reinforce what he is doing in the classroom, but I'll also include some exercises and games that go beyond what is happening in class.
Any stories or highlights from volunteering at LS?
I am continually impressed with the commitment of LS students, especially Prasert, to improve their language skills. As a native English speaker, it is easy to forget how many words or spellings don't fit a regular pattern, so it must be quite difficult to learn English well as an adult when you were not taught English in school.
What might people not know about you?
One of my favorite types of travel is inn-to-inn walking. My wife and I (and sometimes our kids) have done multi-day trips with just a day pack in Marin County (Northern California), Vancouver Island, Scotland (West Highland Way), and we'll be going to the Dolomites in Northern Italy this summer for another trip in this vein.
Thank you Tad, for your commitment and dedication to working with Prasert.